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I think it's safe to say many creepypastas nowadays rely heavily on violence and gore for their scare factor. It's the ultimate visceral element, after all. But is it too much?



"...The lead animation editor paused and rewound frame by frame. What we saw was horrible. It was a still photo of a dead child. He couldn’t have been more than 6. The face was mangled and bloodied, one eye dangling over his upturned face, popped. He was naked down to his underwear, his stomach crudely cut open and his entrails laying beside him. He was laying on some pavement that was probably a road..." - Squidward's Suicide

"...I took a step in, and I could feel the warm, thick liquid on my feet. Suddenly, James' nightlight came on, and I could see the absurd horror laid out in front of me. James' body was nailed up on the wall, the nails pierced through his hands and his feet, and his chest was cut wide open, and his organs hung down at the floor, and his eyes and tongue had been removed along with most of his teeth, and I was disgusted. I could hardly believe that this was my baby boy..." - Laughing Jack

"...To my horror, she brought out a knife and started slowly cutting the man. The man screamed in brutal pain as the woman slowly cut him to pieces. Blood poured from his mouth and all the lacerations as the woman dug the knife in deeper. His clothing was slowly stripped from his body, and after each article was removed, she used a lighter to set all the newly exposed hairs on fire. Covered in horrific burns and terrifying cuts, the man had stopped screaming and was now simply bawling. He occasionally screamed out, "Why?!" That was all he could muster. Each time he did, the woman stabbed him again. She began laughing as the man vomited blood and entrails. She picked up the small, solid pieces of the vomit with the knife and slowly licked the blade clean..." - The Dating Game


Perhaps. Like any story element, blood and offal can be useful for writing if used diligently and in the right places, but here, the way I see it, it's used as shock value. More specifically, it's shock value confused for horror. It can be truly unsettling, but I've found many of the stories that use gore as a centerpiece are otherwise lacking in depth and unsettling themes/ideas. Let's take Laughing Jack, for instance. Without the disembowelment, he's just a teleporting clown. Squidward's Suicide is about an unusually privileged intern watching a fractured fairytale. Now take a different story that has elements of gore, The Russian Sleep Experiment. While I personally think this pasta is just mediocre, its use of viscera is there to serve the story's theme. Madness within stuff, you know? True, not all great pastas have a very succinct theme. And true, not all pastas with promising themes are worth consuming. Still something worth keeping in mind, I think.



And why such detail? What does it add, really? Is it necessary for us to know every action of torture carried out? Is it necessary for us to know exactly what mutilation the victim endured from head to toe? In fact, is it necessary for that level of gruesome violence to happen in the story at all? What does it add? Meaning? Character? A dark nature to the story? Audience disgust? I would argue only the last one is true. In most pastas, extreme gore adds little to no meaning as it's just gore for the sake of gore, gallons of blood and offal where a tablespoon would suffice to display a violent event. In most pastas, extreme gore adds little to no character because the violence doesn't reveal itself to be an intrinsic byproduct of a disturbed mind. Much of it is simple, mindless savagery handled as if a disturbed mind will just always equal simple, mindless savagery. Because of the aforementioned points, I see that in most pastas, extreme gore adds little to no genuine darkness in the nature of the story. Without the addition of meaning or character, extreme gore reads as tasteless, disgusting violence fumbled in the hands of an amateur in an attempt to bleed as much of a reaction out of their audience as they do blood from their own characters.

There's another layer to this. I mentioned this when I brought up why I don't believe extreme violence and gore adds character to most pastas. In the series of things that result from conflict and violence, a lot of creepypastas only represent the more extreme, more obvious aspects of these things: suicide, murder, mental illness, and of course, gore. Depending on what kind of story one is trying to tell, this could totally make sense. But maybe it's just me, but I get the impression from a lot of creepypastas that the writers believe gore is the best option every time, if not the only thing worth highlighting. A disturbed mind only resulting in simple, mindless savagery. Sometimes they're out together in conjunction with the extreme elements I mentioned before. Sometimes they aren't. But there are more subtle yet more unsettling after-effects of violence than just your bog standard gore. Here's an example.

I watch Forensic Files, a true crime show. Good show, interesting content, and you really get to see how criminal cases work. In one of the cases, a woman was suffocated with her face pressed into a garbage bag on a pillow. Upon examining the crime scene, specialists realized that the pressure used to suffocate her was so great, it left a very clear impression of her lifeless, expressionless face in the garbage bag. You could still see her eyes.

Just some thoughts on the use of violence and gore in creepypastas from a fellow artist. Hope you found it interesting, if not informative. Take it as you wish.

The same applies with other forms of media, especially movies. I originally wrote this for the Horror Amino App.
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April 23, 2016
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