Monday, 4 June 2012

Genre Talk: Creepy Pasta

I've been severely swamped lately, so Mad Jester is keeping the blog alive for me. Thanks Bro! I'm working on some articles for the blog, so there will be more posts from your favourite possessed maniac soon. For now, let Mad Jester open your mind on the topic of something I do enjoy indulging in myself: Creepypasta.


Genre Talk With Mad Jester: Who Wants Some Creepypasta?

(All creepypasta taken from SCP Society creepypasta archive. I own none of the short stories provided.)

You are the only person remaining on Earth.

There is a knock at the door.

Lately I've been reading a lot of creepypasta lately- by no means a new phenomenon, I know, but I only came to it recently. So, what is creepypasta, say those of you even later to the party than myself? Well, it's basically the concept of short horror stories, distilled to their most elemental form. At its worst, creepypasta is nothing more than a half-hearted rehashing of silly urban legends, of the type easily debunked with a few seconds' searching on Snopes. But at its best, it is a thing sublime.

Good creepypasta is a few simple sentences, a couple paragraphs at most. It, like the example above, gives few details, paints the scantiest, minimalist images... and leaves large, deep, shadowy holes for your mind to fill in on its own. It lets your brain people the story with the tenebrous, half-formed things that crawl behind our eyes as we're just drifting off to sleep, the shapeless and horrible things that cause us to bolt upright, gasping and sweating, with night-terrors. A prime example being this piece, entitled Carnivals:

Walking in graveyards shouldn't be scary. The things under the ground there are dead. They can't hurt you now.
It's the lively places, the carnivals and theaters, places where people gather and crowd and swirl together.
Those are the feeding grounds.

But not all creepypasta- not even all the good stuff- is about monsters, or demons, or anything at all to cause terror. Some of it focuses on the dread or revulsion aspects of horror- sometimes placing you in the mind of a killer, sometimes detailing the thought processes of an obsessed stalker, sometimes illustrating the mad hunger of a cannibal. These, for me, are occasionally far worse (better?) than the more traditional "there's something coming out of your mirror" variety, because it makes these deranged thoughts and feelings understandable- and in some cases, alarmingly relatable. (I know I've been in love so deep I'd gladly join the ranks of the undead to be able to keep doing things to make them smile.)

Then there's the stuff that isn't easily categorized, in terms of why it's unsettling. Some of my favourite creepypasta is the kind that doesn't illustrate elaborate "something's coming to kill me" scenarios, nor "I ate her face because I love her so" confessions; the kind of creepypasta that's horribly succinct but- for a very brief, mind-blowing moment- makes you question the very nature of your subjective reality, and makes you ask (if only in passing) "Am I really me? Is this truly my life?" It takes a very skillful hand to evoke proper existential anxiety, and so I'll leave you with an example of onesuch- one of my absolute favourites: a little gem called An Important Note. (Possible trigger warning!)

It has been reported that some victims of rape, during the act, would retreat into a fantasy world from which they could not WAKE UP. In this catatonic state, the victim lived in a world just like their normal one, except they weren't being raped. The only way that they realized they needed to WAKE UP was a note they found in their fantasy world. It would tell them about their condition, and tell them to WAKE UP. Even then, it would often take months until they were ready to discard their fantasy world and PLEASE WAKE UP.

Kweeny says: So gang, do you like creepypasta? Do you find yourself staying up all night reading and looking up the shit? I know I do sometimes. It's a sickness.

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