lol you could just post the entirety of the D&D Monster Manual here
...which I unfortunately do not have on my computer
Could someone with a psychology major or some expertise explain to me what it is that make these sorts of creatures scary? I know it has to do with a natural human sense of revulsion towards anything sick or injured as a sub-conscious self defense mechanism, but what exactly makes things like exposed lip-less teeth or eyeless faces truly frightening? I ask because I feel it might help my design process when coming up with my own frightening creature creations later down the line.
Probably something to do with the Uncanny Valley ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uncanny_valley ).
Things like that frighten us because on a subconscious level we fear either contracting what they have or that what happened to them might happen to us.
Though something like lipless mouths might have to do with predators. Exposed teeth are pretty frightening when you think about it.
I don't know, but there's definitely at least one picture I'd love to have examined on that front ... I don't know who it was by (some -reasonably- well known, possibly east european? nightmare-scape artist) but I'd recognise it if I saw it again...
Weirdest thing ever. Was just cruising some list of SCPFuel or the like on an imageboard and I saw this one and something DEEP in my subconscious NOPED the fuck out. Never felt terror like it. Closed the tab with all haste and didn't dare open it again (hence the lack of proper info). Almost like the urban-legend "cockatrice" images that send a person made or whatever. Though I wouldn't want to experience that feeling from a mere painting again, I'd love to know exactly what kind of instinctive short-circuit caused that to happen.
Not like I was a kid or unused to nasty shit on the internet or anything, I'm early 30s now and this was in the last 8-9 years or so as I was using my previous (2006) laptop when it happened...
Oh whoa! This looks a lot like some recurring themes from nightmares I have, only less bloody. It's kinda neat to see something like that illustrated.
i think it could be something by Beksinski you talk about.
i would dump more but it's really more humanoid than monster stuff.
still deliciously terrifying
The psychology of fear is well beyond a basic psychology degree. There are a few things about these types of creature drawings that are fairly apparent though.
As already mentioned, uncanny valley stuff and disease/injury revulsion is a big part. This effect also applies when something has a part that looks human, but it isn't a human. Humans are also wired to be afraid of stuff that is angular or sharp looking, including physical shapes and movements.
We also fear stuff that is unfamiliar, which obviously applies to pretty much all monster drawings, but is more potent when the thing does not look "natural". This is a bit more difficult to exactly define, but we get used to how biological creatures "should" look based on our experiences, stuff that doesn't fit in causes more fear. As an add on to this, we also fear stuff that doesn't have function we think it should have, e.g. no eyelids with eyes, eye sockets but no eyes, teeth but no lips. We are also afraid of stuff that has exagerated body parts that can be dangerous like mouths, claws, or hands.
There is a shit ton of stuff I didn't touch on or just don't know, but my point is that there is a lot that goes into defining why scary stuff is scary.
>but what exactly makes things like exposed lip-less teeth or eyeless faces truly frightening?
i think some of it also comes from those being things that happen to us upon death. skin starts to recede, the eyes will rot away etc. it's kinda corpsey.>>11214
>but we get used to how biological creatures "should" look based on our experiences, stuff that doesn't fit in causes more fear
i've thought about this a lot in regard to animals, particularly deep sea creatures.
i think that's why seeing new discoveries of sea "monsters" makes them seem like "monsters" to begin with, just because we're not used to them.
similar to when weird shit washes up and people can't tell what it is, it's branded a monster, when in fact it's probably just an animal corpse that's decomposed or gone through some specific thing that's made it look so different to when it was alive that it's unrecognisable as that animal.
i mean, if someone had never seen an octopus in their whole life and then you introduced them to one, they'd probably shit themselves, but because we're taught about them we grow up seeing them as just another normal animal.
hopefully this pic counts as a monster (i know i thoroughly enjoy seeing the shinigami depictions in live action things, especially next to humans/human environments, because of how creepy they are). ryuk is the only good part of the netflix death note mess. particularly horrific in this incarnation.
"What makes a monster scary" is a question that demands we look at a lot of different stuff. We have to look at cultural values, we have to look at some really primal evolutionary psychology (like... big eyeballs and mouths, "stealthiness" and stalking behavior, unpredictability), we have to look at innate revulsions like the revulsions to rot, disease, excrement - a scary monster pushes a lot of different buttons in a person.
One of those buttons that I have not seen mentioned in this thread: motive. What does a person infer about a monster's motives?
Think about the following examples:
-a hideous person, especially a hideous woman (or an old, antisocial woman - think about witches)
-a person who seems "false" and smiles too much, makes too much eye contact
-a diseased dog, stumbling around, drooling
-the vengeful ghost of a murdered woman
-an obsessive drunk who's been the laughingstock of the village for years, pacing around muttering and fuming
-a single mother who goes insane in her cabin one winter, and is discovered eating her children and cradling their remains
we can infer dangerous motives, or unpredictable motives. We sense a mind that cannot be reasoned with, or a mind poisoned against us, or one warped by bitterness. In some cases we can sense a capacity to obsess, to devote creativity and willpower towards ill ends - think of Hannibal Lecter.
A hideous person might, for example, struggle to find acceptance, and grow to despise society. In their loneliness they might ruminate on these feelings in private, obsessing. Yesterday those wretched children laughed and threw mud. We can imagine this person constructing a closet shrine to the beautiful girl of the village, or leaving slaughtered pets on doorsteps.
Imagine an alien aboard a spaceship, one that moves silently, clings to ceilings, and has huge circular eyes that never blink. Imagine the alien has a mouth it never closes. Imagine it slinking across the ceiling towards a person - its whole body tense - like a tiger in the grass, or an anglerfish slowly opening its jaws as its prey swims close. The person is showering, crying about something, oblivious to the uncomprehending, cold-blooded predator mere feet away.
You find an abandoned shack in the woods and hear weird, guttural weeping inside. Cans and bottles dangle from tree branches around the shack, flies buzz. Something smells. You see in the gloom of the shack something standing in the corner, swaying back and forth, holding its scalp and ripping its hair.
In all these cases, the most alarming details are the ones that imply something perverse, unpredictable, or implacable in a being's motives.
It's always an odd feeling when I stumble across an articulate, open-minded discussion that has (somehow) sprung up in this terribly, terribly dark and sordid corner of the internet....
Kind of ironic now that I think about it. Finding something that ISN'T utterly reprehensible when I'm expecting the twisted shit I beat off to evokes a similar feeling of unease/peculiarity that you guys were talking about. Of course in this case I find it refreshing rather than troubling but I think the mental process that causes this feeling might be nearly identical.
So now I'd wonder how distressed various monsters would be in a "normal" (non-monster) environment, and take that in consideration when pondering there motivation.
I totally didn't mean to add anything to the discussion other than giving props to it's existence. It just kinda took me over for a second, sorry.
Going to switch back to Depraved Deviancy Mode now.
I wish there were more pics of her.>>14650
May not be exactly related to your post, but isn't there some speculation on how, with the way the brain is wired, there isn't actually that much disconnection between the part of the brain that detects "fear" and the part that detects "attraction"?