Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Putting the 'creep' in creepy

Photo by Brenda Mihalko
In his vlog post 'Who's This Guy? Why Does He Write Weird Junk?' Daniel Marks mentioned how the king of horror, Stephen King, uses kids to put the 'creep' in creepy in his classic Salem's Lot. King knows that when readers pick up a book with children in it, they often expect the children to be innocent and good and in need of protection from the evil that is afoot - they don't expect the children to be the evil that is afoot! That twist on the ordinary is what makes Salem's Lot so creepy good.

Writers like to do that.We either look for things that scare people and we amplify it, or we look for things that seem innocent and safe, and we flip them upside down and inside-out to make them CREEPY. With that in mind, I thought it'd be fun to share a few things that creep us out:

Laura Ellen - Maybe its because I was raised Catholic, but anything about demons and devils and religious lore really creeps me out. Like John Carpenter's Prince Of Darkness. Alice Cooper's character alone was enough to creep me out, but after watching it, I couldn't sleep or look in a mirror for weeks! Oh and sewer grates - those creep me out too. Forget walking over one; I have to walk around it, and I can't even do that until I've peered down inside to make sure nothing's lurking below . . . (thanks to It by, yup, Stephen King.)

Gina Rosati A dead blackbird on my front walk with its little feet stuck up in the air and its yellow eyes still open.
Photo by Antonio Jiménez Alonso
Lenore Appelhans - I am creeped out by potato eyes.  We can't keep potatoes in our pantry for this very reason.  It dates back to childhood when I used to have nightmares that the eyes grew rapidly and strangled me.  I'm weird, I know.

Suzanne Lazear - Ants totally creep me out.

Photo by Lee Adcock
Daniel Marks - Um...clowns. Happy ones. Sad ones. Dead ones. I don't care. They creep me out and haunt my dreams and every dark shadow I pass. Seriously. Keep them away from children's birthday parties, your fast food restaurants, and most of all, me.

Zoraida Córdova - Rats...Gerbils....guinea pigs. Just gives me the wiggins. Eep!

Jodi Meadows - Gummy worms. Just . . . why? WHY??? (Also hand/feet/eye injuries, fungus, bones sticking through skin, and other people's blood.) I'm going to have to think about unicorns or something for a while to overcome the trauma of writing this list.

Elisa Ludwig - Vomit! Anyone's, really.

Kathleen Peacock - Shoes on the side of the road. Where did they come from? Where are their owners?! I used to think I was alone in being creeped out by this, but an art teacher I had in college once did a whole piece on it. And silverfish because nothing on land should move like that.

Photo by Irum Sha
Cole Gibson - Antique porcelain dolls. *shudder*  And OMiGosh. I go to craft fairs all the time and someone is always selling an old window with a hand painted snowman looking through it - as if a snowman was outside your house looking in. Who would want that?!? CREEP-CITY.

Jessica Spotswood Totally creeped out by vines. I'm pretty sure they're going to grow and wrap all around me and *shudders*.

Photo by Falk Schaaf
AC Gaughen - Anything that crawls and yet also seems to move faster than I'm capable of.  Included in this category: centi-, mille- or any other -pede, spiders, earwigs, ticks.... Did you know that wolf spiders bury themselves in the ground so they can JUMP OUT and BITE YOU.  WHAT IS THAT ABOUT??!?!?!  Okay my skin is getting itchy with phantom crawly things....EW

Veronica Rossi - OK... this one is weird...I'm sure I'm the only human on the planet who is creeped out by ... PACKING PEANUTS. gahhhh!!!! *shiver*

J.A. Souders - Okay, this is really stupid, but anything dealing with aliens.  I can't watch movies with them in it (Even ones like ET.)  I will literally have nightmares for weeks afterward.  I think it started with the show SIGHTINGS.  I watched one episode where a guy swore up and down he was being visited by aliens and "recorded" one of the "events."  Ever since then I can't even think about it without getting creeped out.   *shudder* Also, clowns, spiders, and centipedes (I really, really hate centipedes).

Eve Marie Mont - This is probably pretty common, but my fear of needles has reached phobia proportions; I haven't had blood taken in seven years. Also, rocking chairs with no one in them, unexplained shivers while walking up my basement stairs, and when my dog stares at nothing on the wall. But the worst are those "Time-Out Kids" lawn ornaments of children in overalls leaning against trees covering their eyes--so creepy. *shudders*

Jennifer Bosworth - You know the David Lynch movie Wild at Heart? The scene where the crazy mother is putting on lipstick, and she starts smearing it all over her face. That got to me. So, people drawing outside the lines with their lipstick . . . freaky.

Anne Greenwood Brown - Fish and birds--really, any animal that clings to its prehistoric appearance. Also, eyeball surgery and ripped out toenails.

Nicole Maggi
- Okay, I know this is totally girly and cliched, but bugs. Spiders, silverfish, cockroaches...ugh. Remember that scene in Peter Jackson's King Kong where the giant bugs attack and eat half the group? Yeah. That still gives me nightmares.

So . . . 
What puts the 'creep' in your creepy?


Laura Ellen is the author of BLIND SPOT coming out in Fall of 2012 from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.


  1. You had too much fun finding these pictures. :P

  2. This was such an entertaining post. But WHY? Secretly, we must love being creeped out; otherwise, the horror movie & book industry wouldn't be thriving. We are a strange species!

  3. Great idea for a blog post! This cracked me up, especially since I can relate to some of the odder ones : gummy worms and potato eyes - even worse when those eyes turn into tentacles!

  4. WHY DID YOU HAVE TO POST THAT SCENE?! AAAAAAHHHH! Seriously, though, great post. I've been laughing for days at everyone's creepy things!

  5. You're going to laugh at me, but I nearly hyperventilated when I saw that picture of the potato growing eyes. You're EVIL! ;)

  6. Lenore, you should have seen the picture I wanted to put up but it cost money - it had really evil eyes; I understood where you were coming from after I saw it :)

  7. I'm putting "Prince of Darkness" on my list of movies to watch this October. It looks AMAZING.

    Oh, and if you want to be creeped out by lipstick face, too . . . here you go.

  8. I just added lipstick lady for you, Jennifer!