We all have something we’re afraid of, and if someone denies that, they’re probably lying unless they have a complete lack of emotion in general. Sometimes things we’re frightened of are straightforward, like heights, spiders, the dark. I find spiders adorable, though, but that’s something for another time. There’s some common fears I don’t have, though, with little effect on me that are often used in horror.
That would be clowns and dolls. I saw IT for the first time recently, and I wasn’t scared at all, but I did like the monster design toward the end. It was an intense movie, especially when the child’s arm was ripped off (I felt so bad for the poor kid). It was a great horror movie, but simply didn’t get me. I think it got many folks when they were kids, though, hence the fear of clowns.
As for dolls, I don’t know, they’ve never been super eerie to me. Though the ‘haunted doll’ stuff is a pretty interesting plotline, I will say, and can be eerie. They work for a creepy vibe, and sure, could fall under uncanny valley, but don’t really strike true fear in me. I like using doll imagery though for a creep factor in works, though, because I know so many are offput by old dolls.
No, as for me, I would say really creepy imagery that gets me is distorted faces and long mouths. I know I covered this in a previous article, somewhat, which can be found here, but I wanted to kind of go a bit more depth into the long-mouth thing and give a few more specifics on what really struck me personally as creepy in this article. Take a look at this video:
I absoloutely adore this, because it strikes that cord of ‘oh no, that’s horrifying’ in me. Of course, I’ve seen it a few times now, so it doesn’t have as deep of an effect (the whole Momo thing was something I couldn’t even look at, now I’m numb to it, for example). But it’s really well done. It’s a bit less well done at the very end of the scene, but eh, that happens.
Here’s a case of oddly-distorting or bending limbs that gets me too. Crooked Man is one of my favorite monsters. I fell in love with the eeriness of this monster from this scene. I didn’t end up watching the entire movie… I got bored, sorry… but this monster in particular was awesome.
Finally, a case of the ‘mouth thing’ without actual distortion. Using the mouth for horror, rather. The janitor in Silent Hill (movie, and yes, I like that movie, take a walk if you have issues!) uses his tongue in a super creepy way when crawling around, and also, the sounds he makes is super fucking scary. The context of what he did to a little girl adds yet another layer of ‘this monster is disgusting and HORRIFYING’ to me.
So! Distorted limbs and long mouths get me, and I wanted to give a few more examples here that I didn’t mention much in my other article. What horror elements get you the most?
My Norse Mythology Urban Fantasy, with a twist on vampires & with LGBTQ+ romantic subplots, is coming out on Halloween! Support me, check it out here!