We’ve got Michael Myers, Freddy, Jason… scary dudes none of us would want to bump into at night. Yet they could be lurking around that corner just waiting to hack you up. Werewolves, zombies, John Carpenter’s The Thing, not to mention the genius design of those aliens in the classic Alien film series, are all frightening as hell and the stuff of nightmares. And clowns *shudders*. Clowns, man.
But what about those characters, those truly and deeply fearsome characters that we’re all in danger of falling victim to because we just haven’t acknowledged them for the monsters they are? I’m not talking about those obvious dangers, I’m talking about the ones that may pose an intellectual/emotional threat as well as a physical one… those dark and dangerous creatures that have slipped under the radar under the guise of drama or even comedy.
Buckle your seatbelts, Ginger Nutters…oh, and spoiler alerts.
3) CARRIE BRADSHAW (SEX AND THE CITY – the TV show)
I’ll admit to you all now that I’m a huge Sex and the City fan, and I’ll say it with no shame, goddamnit! In my humble opinion, it’s a scriptwriting masterpiece with incredible attention to detail and (occasionally profound) double meaning behind more or less every line.
Carrie Bradshaw is our main protagonist. She has a great job, an endless stream of potential suitors and best of all, a group of wonderful loyal friends who constantly pick up the pieces for her. And yet, Carrie herself, however, lovable on the surface is a nightmare.
It’s always all about her – no matter what her gal pals are struggling through (cheating spouses, miscarriage, etc.), she somehow always manages to turn the conversation into a ‘poor Carrie’ moment. She sends her boyfriend to pick her naked, injured friend up off the bathroom floor. She burns through men with her flaming vagina with no consideration for their feelings. She spends all of her money on shoes, and then guilt trips her friend into giving her an engagement ring so she can afford to buy her apartment. She was in danger of losing the apartment in the first place because her fiancé, who she agreed to marry despite not wanting to marry him, bought the place to build them a lovely home, which she ended up throwing in his face. Oh… and this fiancé is a man who gave her a second chance after she had an affair with her married ex, Mr. Big.
Her relationship with Mr. Big is perhaps the most horrifying aspect of the series. I know it’s just television, and every fan of the show knows it’s just television, but Carrie became somewhat of an idol to the ‘modern woman’. It’s been argued in countless essays and articles that the show is a sparkling example of modern day feminism and a promotion of an independent female agenda. And yet, Carrie’s life hinges on this toxic man, who spends a decade dicking her around and keeping her on the backburner whilst he pursues countless other women in an attempt to do better than her. Eventually, Carrie gets her happy ending when Mr. Big swoops back in, deciding that actually, he’s ready to commit to her now. And she falls at his feet. The End. Oh, until they made the first movie, in which he stands her up on their wedding day, breaks her heart and ruins her life, only to reappear at the end so she can.. oh.. they’re back together. And somehow, she ends up apologising to him for wanting a nice wedding.
I guess the overall message is that if you’re a woman, you should latch on to an emotionally unavailable man and endure years of emotional neglect and pain in the hope that one day he’ll settle for you. Hold on ladies – that gem of a man is out there somewhere! If you’re a man, the advice this show gives you is to treat a woman you sort of love like crap until she’s too broken to function without you, and then ride in like a knight and put her out of her misery when you’ve had enough of gallivanting around with all your other disposable wenches.
What a truly terrifying example of a modern, adult role model.
2) ERIC CARTMAN (SOUTH PARK)
Eric Cartman, South Park’s resident ‘evil child’, is far scarier than The Omen’s Damien or The Exorcist’s Regan. He’s even more terrifying than those little sods from Children of the Corn. Unlike the aforementioned little terrors, Cartman isn’t the victim of a cult-like hive mind, a predetermined allegiance with the bowels of Hell, or a demonic possession. He’s just a particularly evil, 8 year old sociopath. It’s no surprise than his mother flits around giving in to his every whim, with no apparent knowledge of his evil schemes and actions – she’s probably ignoring it in the hopes that she doesn’t become his next victim.
Amongst his evil deeds is siding with Cthulhu in a bid to wipe out certain minorities, his mission to have Kenny’s life support terminated so that he could claim his PSP, and of course, ‘The Passion of the Jew’. For an 8 year-old, Cartman sure has an uncanny resemblance to the racist lunatic that was Hitler.
These ‘qualities’ aside, there was also that famous ‘Scott Tenorman Must Die’ episode, in which Cartman hatches and executes a somewhat elaborate revenge plot against his nemesis Scott. Scott, quite the bully if we’re being honest, ripped Cartman off. Perhaps a little payback was deserved. However, the sheer vulgarity of the revenge plot was enough to startle even though most hardcore South Park fans. In a nutshell, Cartman arranges it so that Scott’s parents are killed, minced into chili, and fed to him. When Scott learns the truth and cries with grief and horror, realising he has just been eating his much beloved parents, his favourite band are there to witness his emotional breakdown (though they are unaware of the context), and is mercilessly mocked by them. It all ends with a glorious shot of Cartman licking Scott’s tears, quite literally consuming his misery.
Yes, South Park is a cartoon, and yes, it’s for adults. But would these actions have been brushed off so easily if South Park were, say, a live action series with actors rather than drawings? Would Cartman be accepted, nay, loved if the show wasn’t a comedy? Take that character out of his natural habitat and you seriously have a monster right there!
And yet…. I love him. And so do you. Maybe that’s the scariest thing about him.
1) GOD (THE BIBLE)
Now before anyone kicks off, this final entry is not intended to offend, nor should it. I’m not scrutinizing God, The Bible, or anyone of faith, nor am I arguing the existence of The Holy Spirit. I’m coming at this from the perspective of someone who doesn’t believe in a deity but has read The Bible (cover to cover, twice). As, I suppose, an outsider, I’m just calling it as I read it.
God is not a character to be messed with. Let’s take what’s universally known about Him first; He knows and see’s everything. He created everything. He can do whatever He wants, whenever He wants. He could obliterate us all in a second. In fact, He has done so in the past (The Great Flood, anyone?). I get that He loves us, but that didn’t stop Him from say, killing the first born in every household, sending a plague of locusts, or striking various people down dead at the drop of a hat. Or, again, wiping out everyone except Noah and the lucky few. Including the animals.. what did the animals do wrong?!
His acts of punishment range from mass genocide, to smaller acts of smiting, like turning Lot’s wife into a pillar of salt because she looked back when He told her not to. She may have been useful for gritting the path if it snowed during winter, but I doubt that was much comfort to her.
Pride is one of the 7 deadly sins, and yet we’re supposed to dedicate one day a week to worshipping the dude that created this rule in the first place. Wrath is a sin too… (refer to the previous paragraphs for why I am perplexed by this).
His rules are confusing, especially since He doesn’t set the example personally, and human nature makes it near enough impossible to bumble through life without at least accidentally breaking a few of them. And then to round off this panic that we’re going to disappoint The Almighty and be punished for it, we have this fear hanging over us, this terrible, crushing fear, that life never ends. When our human bodies give out, we move onto another level of being, an eternal one. And if we live unsatisfactory lives (and the standard we’re expected to meet, my dear friends, is impossible), we have to spend that eternity being tortured in a fiery pit. God won’t let us in if we sin. He won’t even let us through the pearly gates if our only sin is not believing in Him in the first place. You could be the poster child of a Good Samaritan and die saving a baby from a burning building, but if you went through life denying the existence of God (the one unforgivable sin from which you can not repent), you get sent to the inferno. I doubt that pleading outside the gates of Heaven will do much good either, since we’re talking about a guy who sent his son to Earth to be sacrificed. He’s ruthless, dudes.
So there you have it, 3 characters that I find utterly terrifying. What do you guys think? I’d love to chat about this in the comments, so please enlighten me on those non-horror horrors that you find... er… horrifying.
KAYLEIGH MARIE EDWARDS
THE HEART AND SOUL OF HORROR