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Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Top 20 Worst Creepypastas: Part 1

Creepypastas: the internet version of a campfire story. A genre that has skyrocketed numerous characters into the eye of prominence thanks to social media and new entertainment platforms such as YouTube, the creepypasta genre is abound with solid stories and absolutely dreadful ones. Today, I'm gonna go over twenty of my least favorite ones because I'm bored and don't want to write my book or a review. Instead, I feel like whining about stories more famous than me.

#20: Herobrine

Herobrine's class photo. Mommy was so proud.

The story of Herobrine goes as follows: Notch, the creator of Minecraft, had a secret brother who died and now haunts the world of Minecraft. He takes on the form of Minecraft Steve, but his eyes are completely white. He'll appear if you set up a special altar, thus allowing him to haunt your game and be scary.

This story isn't inherently bad, relying on some generic tropes, like a forum post vanishing and the ghost emailing the narrator. However, it handles these in a way that they don't become horrible. If anything, it uses them in the blandest way possible. The end result is a two pieces of white bread without anything in the middle.

The rest pasta isn't remarkable in any way, but it's not unreadable trash like later entries are. Rather, it falls into the middle of the road that many pastas fall into. Never bad enough to be laughed at, but never good enough to be something worthy of being scared by. This may be due to the pasta feeling more like an intro to a story—much in the way the prologue to Jeff the Killer serves to establish the titular killer off as someone on the loose. Here, however, the story of Herobrine feels extraordinarily shallow. One can argue that not every creepypasta needs to be a grandiose epic tale worthy of being placed alongside Dickens, Shakespeare, and Austin.

I, for one, say screw you. I like my stories that aren't deliberate crackfics to feel fleshed out and fulfilling. Now then, onward!

#19: Squidward's Suicide

Squidward Tentacles circa 2010 (colorized).

Once upon a time, I liked this story. Once upon a time, I also liked chewing on sponges and catching moths.

The story of Squidward's Suicide is that an intern—easily the most baffling thing in this entire thing—at Nickelodeon Studios is shown a very bizarre episode of SpongeBob SquarePants that shocks everyone. The episode features murdered children and Squidward sadly not being told to piss off by Robert Downey Jr. Rather, he blows his brains out with a shotgun. By the end, it's revealed that the episode was dropped off mere minutes before the crew watched it. I'll admit, this ending is pretty good, but it raises the question as to why finding the deliverer can't be found simply by reviewing security footage.

I digress, Squidward's Suicide is nothing if not straightforward, and I'll give it that. It wastes little time in jumping into the fray, and I liked that! Where the story falls apart is its butchering of the concept of tenses, the unnecessary levels of brutality, and an intern of all people being the one to describe these events. Considering creepypastas aren't real and most people know this—save for the naive kids who aren't fully aware of the nature of the internet—I find it absurd the author didn't simply make the main character an employee at Nick. Or a security guard.

As a whole, this story could've worked, but when your story has nearly 60, if not more, tense swaps, you need an editor. Even then, visceral depictions of murdered children isn't scary. Also, most creepypasta authors mistake gore for horror, as will be showcased later in this list.

#18: Dead Bart

Press F to pay respects.

The original lost episode creepypasta, Dead Bart tells the story of Bart Simpson dying. It's in this episode that the show makes some predictions and Matt Groening doesn't acknowledge the episode in real life.

Short description? Yeah, but the pasta itself is short. Much like Herobrine, the story suffers from that as it feels unbelievably rushed. Nor does it feel particularly scary. If anything, it feels more like a first draft that someone decided to post online because reasons.

Dead Bart is a lot like this entry: rushed, hollow, and dead.

#17: Username: 666

Creepypastas have a fetish for number “666”. It makes an appearance in many bad ones, some of which we'll see later in this list. For the uninitiated, 666 is the number associated with the Antichrist. On the contrary, 999 is said to represent Jesus Christ. That number, however, doesn't have any prominence in creepypastas because numerology is hard and requires effort.

Username: 666 is a YouTube themed horror story, centering on the titular user, 666. Unlike other stories on this list, this one comes with a video. To summarize, looking to the user by the name of 666 will yield no results. However, refreshing the page several times with cause it to become distorted and, eventually, hellish. Later in the story, it's stated that a YouTube employee committed suicide after watching a video from the channel. He was kind enough to leave a sticky note behind to explain.

I'll give credit to the video for being pretty well made, especially for its time. It has a level of authenticity that many other creepypasta videos, such as Slenderman and Rake sightings, lack. However, this is where the story peaks. As a whole, Username: 666 isn't very scary. Perhaps it was when it originally came out, and creepypastas weren't as prevalent as they are now.

One of the best examples is the generic visualization of the user page. While the video does a solid job of creating something simple, it's the authentic feel and look that creates a sense of uneasiness. Textualized however, and Username: 666 fumbles like someone trying to challenge Tonya Harding. The addition of “employee kills themselves because scary” only adds to the generic feel. I'll never understand why suicide because of a scary video is meant to be horror. Show, don't tell.

Alas, in an era where there's a creepypasta for nearly everything, Username: 666 feels like another brick in the wall. It may not be bad, but it's not memorable or unique enough to stand up on its own two feet.

#16: The Real Chuck-E-Cheese

When I first heard about this story through the YouTube series Bad Creepypasta, I was dying of laughter. The absolute insanity of this story is one for the books. A shame it takes itself seriously.

A first-person recount of someone who badgered their mother to go to Chuck-E-Cheese, a kid stumbles across the truth behind the restaurant chain. Namely, that there's a secret lab creating what I can only assume is a life-sized version of the chain's mascot.

The biggest problem with this story stems primarily from its length. The lack of proper build up and non-existent atmosphere makes The Real Chuck-E-Cheese feel like a hollow fishbowl. Though even then, the premise isn't anything original—there are a plethora of “The Truth Behind X” stories. Still, I'm of the opinion you don't have to be original to be good. Chuck-E-Cheese is ripe for something creepy; the entire chain is basically McDonald's on steroids. Their pizza could be made out of sacrificed swines to a Mayan blood God and I'd believe it. Alas, the story isn't creative enough to do that. So, we're stuck with a “beast version of the mascot”.

In the way of horror, The Real Chuck-E-Cheese offers up some monster maulings and that's about it. No atmosphere and no tension. This could work if the rest of the story were exciting—with the horror coming from the fear of the monster catching our main character. I say this because creepypastas aren't exactly high art and their standards are low, so proper storytelling isn't exactly needed to appease the target demographic. Once more, The Real Chuck-E-Cheese doesn't do any of this. Because of course.

I could probably sit here and list of twenty things The Real Chuck-E-Cheese could've done, but doesn't. Instead, I'll just let Bad Creepypasta do the talking.

#15: Pokemon Black

The Pokemon franchise has always been a haven for creepypastas. Everything from the story behind Missingno to the White Hand to Lavender Town Syndrome. You can find a creepypasta for nearly everything in Pokemon. This, coupled with the “haunted game” trope as seen in stories such as BEN Drowned and Sonic.exe makes the franchise perfect for creepypastas.

Enter Pokemon Black—a story that predates the Unova games. This story centers on a bootleg game collector who purchased the titular game and found out it's really spooky. In this game, you have one Pokemon, Ghost—utilizing the sprite for the Pokemon in Lavender Tower prior to getting the Silph Scope. With Ghost, our hero goes through the Kanto region like one would in Pokemon Red/Blue killing everyone and everything like it's Grand Theft Pokemon.

The reason for this story's popularity is one I've never gotten. While I appreciate the simplicity in its set up, Pokemon Black's usage of the original Red and Blue makes it difficult to be creepy. It's a lot like using the original Super Mario Bros. The lack of visual appeal makes most of what's described sound too simple to be creepy. While not everything needs to be shown in order to be scary, Pokemon Black lives and dies by the idea that Ghost is killing everyone. Couple that with establishing that you collect bootleg games and we’re left with the knowledge that it's a hack, so nothing being presented has the plausibility of being real. From the get-go, we know it's fake.

One thing I really want to cover is Ghost. While not the most original character to ever grace the creepypasta fandom, Ghost is a simple, yet strangely effective villain. Perhaps it's the memories I have of playing Pokemon Fire Red and meeting the Ghost there for the first time to be eerie, but I do find the utilization of it in this story to be solid. It's an example of something in this story that, in another story, might have elevated an already good story to be great. However, with the lackluster writing here, Ghost is left feeling like a shadow of something that could've been great.

The last thing I'll discuss is the entertainment factor. This is where the story really fumbles the ball, but succeeds in one regard that I helps it rise above others.

On the downside, much of Pokemon Black is incredibly repetitious. Much of the story is “I went here. Ghost killed everyone. Then I went here. Ghost killed everyone”. For some, that may be scary. For others, it isn't. I'm a part of the latter. The lack of substance makes Pokemon Black feel way too shallow to sustain any sense of dread.

That said, where the story does succeed is the ending. While I'm not a fan of the “the game made me cry” trope, there is a rather somber part at the end that does make everything feel somewhat effective in its own strange way. In a better story, this may have been effective, if not darkly comedic. Here, however, it's merely fine and tops off an otherwise empty story.

Pokemon Black's reputation as a great story has mystified me ever since I first read it. It's another one of those stories that has a large following that boggles my mind, but who am I to take away what they enjoy. Compared to the majority of the stories on this list, it's brilliant. On its own though, it's a shallow story that lacks much of anything to sustain its own weight.

#14: Lightning

I've never seen more brown nosing for a story than I have for this one. “Oh, it's one of the greatest!” people say. Its twist is “brilliant”, it's “terrifying”. It's basically everything but the literary equivocal to Jesus Christ himself. Then again, that's Reddit for you. The biggest circlejerk the internet's ever known; where quality is judged by the number of upvotes you can get.

So, what is Lightning? Well, it's a story that centers on a guy and his son. They've moved into a new place and it's there the son experiences a storm. Him, being a kid, is enraptured by it, and claims to see flashes of lightning outside his window each night after, even when there's no storm.

The story is very short, one of the few things I can say I like about the story. Even then, Lightning feels like it drags its feet. This is one of the most grueling short stories I've read, feeling like it's the length of Anansi's Goatman, yet being less than a fourth as long if I had to hazard a guess.

The apex of the brown nosing for this story is its twist. To spoil it, the “lightning” is the camera flash of a local pedophile who's captured. The kid then says, after some narration from the dad, that there's no more lightning outside his window. Instead, it's now inside his closet.

I guess that's meant to be scary, but I'm sorry (not really), but the lack of any real build up makes what should be a carpet being yanked out from beneath my feet feel more like someone saying, “then a skeleton jumped out and went ‘boo’!”.

Look, Lightning is an objectively more competently written story than the others on this list. That doesn't excuse it for being one of the most overrated works of art I've ever seen. The internet had brought up an incredibly large amount of brilliant stories. Lightning is a pinhead in an ocean of significantly better, more well thought out stories. Want a story with a brilliant twist? Go read Psychosis.

#13: Lavender Town Syndrome

The case of Lavender Town Syndrome is a weird one. Back when Pokemon Red and Blue were released in Japan, the location known as Lavender Town had a few notes that had odd effects on the listeners ears. When localized to North America and other countries, these notes were changed to be less irritating. Somewhere along the line, however, this change warped into something much more fitting for an urban legend.

It was said that the original version of the Lavender Town theme caused children in Japan to commit suicide or that they outright went insane. It’s also said that when run through audio editing software, the original theme has an image of the Ghost sprite—the same one as seen in the previously talked about Pokemon Black. There are other extensions to what is now formally known as Lavender Town Syndrome, but our focus is strictly on the legend that children committed suicide due to the song.

This story—or urban legend, depending on how you’d want to classify it—is the apex of “Creepypastas I Don’t Understand the Appeal Of”. While certainly more grounded in reality, something that I do greatly respect, Lavender Town Syndrome never struck me as inherently creepy. Music having an adverse effect on people is something that I do find legitimately scary, but the flow to this story is more suited to a documentary of sorts.

Yet, it isn’t because it’s a creepypasta. The actual story is so much simpler that it can be summarized as “the gameboy didn’t process the musical notes properly and it had to be changed for localization”.

I’m repeating myself though. Lavender Town Syndrome is, at its heart, a non-story. It’s an exaggeration of a real story that, while conceptually not bad, is something I never understood the appeal to. I almost feel bad for including it, but it’s frustrating how little enjoyment I get out of it. Still, if you wish to hear the original theme, give it a listen.

#12: Eyeless Jack

Mouthless Jack.

Here's a concept for a killer that could be interesting. A blind killer that possibly has to rely on sound or some other sense in other to kill his victims. He also eats kidneys, which is odd, but point for not being the heart.

Where Eyeless Jack falls apart is its breakneck pacing and general lack of… everything. It’s extremely sloppy with its writing, with the main character having a kidney taken during the night, but being discharged from the hospital not even a week later. It's never explained how the protagonist doesn't wake up from having a kidney removed while he sleeps.

Ah, but enough dilly dallying. The plot centers on a guy, Mitch, who moves in with his brother. It's there that Eyeless Jack begins to be creepy. Who he is and what his endgame is, nobody knows because the story never explores him beyond him:

1: Eating kidneys

2: Having no eyes

3: Being photogenic

The aspect of stealing kidneys isn't explored and feels like a half-baked attempt at separating Eyeless Jack from any other black haired creepypasta killer. Why not make it the pelvis, spleen, or large intestine? It's not like removal of the kidney without proper medical procedure wouldn't likely kill Mitch.

As for the photogenic aspect, this comes late in the story when Mitch actually sees Eyeless Jack. His first action isn't to scream for help, grab the nearest blunt instrument, or even say “hello”. Rather, it's to snap a picture of Jack. For what reason, I can't say as the story didn’t feel compelled to explain.

In the long run, Eyeless Jack attained a small following. The author also came out to say he's extremely displeased with the story. Personally, I want to see this story rewritten. Unlike many stories on this list, I think Eyeless Jack is one that could work as a story. However, as it is currently, it never lets tension build, let alone anything else.

At least it isn't the worst Jack story on this list.

#11: The Luna Game

Applebloom's best impression of Jeff the Killer. Be afraid.

By all accounts, the “Scary Luna Game” has the most truth rooted in its story. As a result, it shouldn't be included on this list. To which I say: nah, my list, my rules.

The Luna Game originates from the fandom of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, which has a considerably large amount of fan content behind it, including several noteworthy horror stories that all went to the Creepypasta School of Gore. I digress, this story comes to us from Equestria Daily, the premiere MLP fan site. Once upon a time, a game was sent there and fans downloaded it. The same saw Princess Luna, the little sister to the ruler of Equestria, Princess Celestia, jumping around aimlessly. After a while, the game shut down and the player’s background was replaced with a scary version of a pony's face. Or, if you wish to go by the story's own wording:

the screen cuts out into one of two sinister images; a Pinkie Pie with Zalgofied eyes, or an inauspicious-looking Applebloom.

Zalgo basically means: add as much red and black filtering, plus some blood, until the edge makes Shadow the Hedgehog look like Clifford the Big Red Dog.

When players looked at where they'd opted to save their game, they'd been met with numerous photos that were all named “the end is neigh”. It was about this point the brony community—the main demographic for a game such as this one—began to wonder if this game was really a virus. In the end, it wasn't, rather proving to be a prank.

As stated at the start, this story should've been disqualified. After all, this was a real thing that happened! However, due to the story being on the wiki for creepypastas, I'm counting it. Besides, someone went through the effort of writing the events of this game! How bad could it be?

Well, for starters, the author is tasked with making My Little Pony scary, a task as difficult as colonizing the Venusian surface. Simply put, it doesn't work.

The Luna Game doesn't have enough to it to make it scary. The content of the game doesn't translate well to a textual format, nor does the game itself come off as scary. While there can be a sense of eeriness when a playing a game without any sort of direction, the story “adaptation” doesn't capture that. Likely due to the game’s short length. The end result reads more like a BuzzFeed article without the asinine pretentiousness.

In the end, The Luna Game isn't scary. However, it's significantly less interesting. Its popularity mainly stems from the fanbase it inhabits, which likely explains why this thing has six numbered sequels, plus a few other fan made games and a fan site dedicated to it!

Yet, even with all of that, the series’ writing hasn't improved. One can hope before Friendship is Magic ends, someone writes the events of one of these games with more grace than Luna jumps in her games.

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