Why I Love Horror: Creeps and Killers

This is the post where I talk about slasher films and creepypastas.  You would expect me to talk about them and say how they are the pinnacles of horror at this point in time, but that’s not what I’m going to say at all.  In fact, generally speaking, I hate slasher movies and creepypastas.  And I’m going to tell you why.

Now, I’m not saying every single slasher movie out there is terrible.  In fact, there are several movies that I like which are considered slasher movies: Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, to name a few.  The so-called slasher movies I do like are not about body count or being as gory or sexually explicit as possible, which is what most slasher movies seem to be (thanks to Friday the 13th).  These movies actually have a deeper story with good writing and characters.

My problem with creepypastas is somewhat similar but slightly different.  Now I will admit, I haven’t read many creepypastas, but most of the ones I have read have been one of two things: really cliche and poorly written, and therefore not scary, or over the top disturbing to the point that you don’t want to close your eyes ever again (which isn’t helped by disturbing pictures to go along with them).  My main beef with creepypastas is because I was legitimately traumatized after reading one that had a particularly disturbing picture with it (not going to mention it by name here, but I’m just putting it out there that it legitimately traumatized me and I went a lot of sleepless nights because of it and couldn’t even close my eyes).

So, both creepypastas and slasher movies seem to have something similar in common.  They’re both out to shock and possibly gross you out in an attempt to be scary.  They don’t actually focus on good writing for this and in the end they become something that is essentially laughable or just disgusting and makes you question what exactly the point is.  That’s not, in my opinion, what good horror should be doing.  Unfortunately that’s what’s saturating the market right now and it’s what the general populace thinks all horror is, which is unfortunate.

Good horror should do what any other genre of story sets out to do, which is tell a good story.  Have good, compelling characters, with a compelling conflict of some sort.  Have them learn something, whether it be a moral or just learning something about themselves, or letting them figure out how to deal with some sort of problem they have in their life.  This type of horror, I’ve noticed, generally falls in the category of psychological horror, which is why it’s my favorite type of horror and I think the best type as well.  Psychological is about getting under your skin and into your head, and if your goal is to be scary, that’s the place to start.

I think that’s why one of my favorite creepypastas (if he’s even really considered that anymore) is the legend of the Slenderman.  A tall man with a white face, wearing what appears to be a business suit, limbs so long that he could be easily mistaken for the trees he hides in, stalking anyone who happens to catch sight of him, because I guess he’s just really shy or something, I don’t know.  While he’s never particularly scared me, he is a favorite character of mine.

And really, that’s what this comes down to, with the enjoyment of creeps and killers.  The enjoyment factor of lots of movies and stories that have this killer element to it has really enjoyable characters.  Sure, they may be out to kill you, but they’re still really well written and strangely enjoyable to watch/read about.  Let’s face it, Nightmare on Elm Street isn’t famous because of Nancy Thompson.  It’s because of Freddy Krueger.  Same with Friday the 13th.  The surviving character isn’t famous, it’s Jason Voorhees (despite the fact that his mother was the killer in the first movie, but that’s beside the point).

Just what is it that makes these characters so much fun, though?  I mean, after all, they are killing people.  But then, everyone loves a good villain, too.  Many people just have this bit of morbid curiosity or morbid love for dark things like this.  And sometimes they just admire the things that scare them the most (for me, that would be Pyramid Head from Silent Hill 2).  I don’t think I can find the words to describe just why we love these sorts of characters, because I honestly don’t know why.  But horror wouldn’t be the same without them.

This post is all over the place and I apologize for that.  This subject is a rather contradictory one for me because I do have such a problem with what slasher movies have become, along with creepypastas.  The horror genre in general has a bad reputation and a lot of people don’t take it seriously, which saddens me because I think it is such a great art form for telling great, compelling stories, especially about the human condition.  True, it’s not going to be for everyone, but it still upsets me that what most people think of horror as is nothing but torture porn and killing people who have sex with each other.  There’s just so much more it could be, but it’s just derailed into that and it’s rather disgusting as well as disappointing.  (No offense to anyone who likes those sort of movies; they just aren’t for me.)

I’m just going to end this extremely unstructured post with an unpopular opinion about the Nightmare on Elm Street series: The second movie, Freddy’s Revenge, was actually a really great sequel as well as a great movie in general.  Also, I thought the remake was a good movie.  I’M OUT.

Freddy-Krueger-lentes-Glasses-gif

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