Scared Yet – Jeff The Killer

I’m launching the first episode of my creepypasta review series! In this edition of Scared Yet, I take a look at a horror story that is consistently in top 10 creepypasta lists across the internet: Jeff The Killer.

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16 Responses to Scared Yet – Jeff The Killer

  1. Seán Gallagher says:

    Jeff the Killer always sort of seemed to me to be a teenager who was mad at some bullies imagining some 'dark and twisted' persona that allowed them to brutalise them. Sort of a removal of the self. However that doesn't make it scary, it's just a ''yeah and then I killed my family and it was so brutal man'' story. It's adolescent wish-fulfilment, albeit a fairly maladaptive form of that.

    Hit the nail on the head as always, K-Streezy. Well done, hope you don't get too much internet rage for this one.

  2. Kris — I think you answered your own question. It was probably written by a kid, for other kids, as a wish fulfillment / bully cautionary tale. It's full of tropes because kids aren't old enough to have consumed all that horror material yet. They don't recognize tropes because they don't grasp the concept yet. It's all surprising to them. "Oh wow! His face got stuck like that! Because of bleach! See, Timmy? You see? This is what happens if you bully me. I'll turn into an awesome killer clown freak with an Aeropostale hoody."

    I think you're right about the image being the thing that pushed this creepypasta along into a sort of popularity.

  3. gristle says:

    Jeff the Killer clocks in at almost 5000 words.

    A real horror short story, by a master, might be as short as 12000 words
    just to grab two examples:

    The Colour out of Space,
    The Horror at the Museum,

    both by Lovecraft.
    C'mon, kids. for twice the time investment you can go experience some real cosmic horror.

  4. Ford Dent says:

    Jeff the Killer is an absolute turd of a story. There's nothing remotely scary about it! Reading it is a painful slog–5000 words that boil down to "there is a guy who kind of looks like the Joker but he stabs people." The little things they choose to focus on, like the brand of shirt the bully wears, is almost comical.

    That said, tearing into the poor quality of the prose does feel like overkill. As near as I can figure, I think it is probably the core concept ("killer clown freak with an Aeropostale hoodie" is a good description, well done @GeorgineWell) that appeals, as well as the obvious "these kids deserved to die because they were bullies" angle–perfect for kids who spend a lot of time on the internet–or at least kids who spent a lot of time on the internet at the turn of the century when this sort of thing got started.

    Now you'd have to do a modern retelling where Jeff's scarring came from getting flamed on twitter or something.

  5. Stew Ped says:

    I wonder if its popularity speaks to the number of adolescents on the web that just want to read wish-fulfillment type stories. Are the kids that like Jeff the Killer the same ones that scream racial/homophobic epithets over XBox Live? I could see those types of kids thinking the story is a "gotta read," but really, it doesn't seem like they'd have the patience to read something that long that's clearly crap.

    It's a CHORE of a story to get through. I'm going to read "The Bad Dream" just to get Jeff's bad taste out of my mind. Blugh.

  6. Thorbie says:

    I'd say the news story portion at the start was actually a little scary. Waking to find an open window and then feeling the eyes of an insane stranger in your room with a horrific face and a knife is frightening. The origin story is what kills it. It's just a bad retelling of the Joker origin story. Imagine how much scarier it would have been if Jeff were the clown at said birthday party and had some horrific accident. To me that's already a better story without going any further. The 12 year old bullies with guns and knives at a kids party with no parents around to stop this doesn't seem believable, nor does the police arresting Jeff's brother based on what little evidence there was and as Kris said, no trial or hearing or anything before being sent off to Juvenile Hall. The scariest thing about this story isn't even in the writing. It's the photoshopped photo.

  7. gristle says:

    I can't wait for the Scared Yet of "Then who was phone??!?"

  8. Kyle_Douglas says:

    I'm not a fan of creepypasta, but I did find this discussion of it interesting.
    I gave the story a quick read after watching and discovered what I believe is the key to enjoying it.
    It was contained within this line near the end: "Kay mommy, ha ha haaaaaaaaaaaa"
    Rereading the story with this voice was a vast improvement. Ha haaaa!

  9. t_wanderer says:

    This is fantastic. I am enjoying this so much. Seriously waiting for a review of an amazing story. Most of the Creepypasta I read tends towards lists and the communities that farm/weed them. The Holders Series and the SCP Foundation are two great examples. I can't wait to hear what creeped you out. Great job Kris. I've been following and reading your stuff forever and this is only the second time I felt the need to comment. I. Am. Excited.

  10. apLundell says:

    I've been really looking forward to this series, and this was a great first episode.
    … But, man, is it going to be a tough series to do.

    On the rare occasions I see a link to a CreepyPasta that starts off with decent writing, it's usually building to a very tired twist. ("How do I know you're my girlfriend, and not a murderer who has stolen her phone?!?")

    On the other hand, I have such fond memories of the "Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark" books, but weren't those also just delivery mechanisms for the same old twists? I don't have a copy of the books handy, which is good, because I'd be really disappointed if I reread them as an adult and discovered they weren't that scary.

  11. megan_made_this says:

    Yeah, that was a rough read. Dear internet, learn some basic grammar and maybe some fundamentals of plot development. Please and thank you.

    I wait with rapt attention for the time you stumble upon one bright shining example of good creepypasta. But in retrospect, I kinda feel like this stretch goal was really "Punish the writer of things you love by forcing him to read terrible writing that he will inevitably feel bad for criticizing." Consider this my formal apology for funding your torment.

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