They're remaking Stephen King's It this year and that got me thinking about the original miniseries. I've heard a lot of people say it's not very scary but for me personally demon clowns are a good enough novelty to sell me in any context and I thought the story would have been engaging even if the clown wasn't scary so I think the classic one was a success. But what I ended up thinking about was less the scares and more the imagery, which I don't have a transition for but is broadly related...I'd like to talk about what I call Icon Horror. An example for It of Icon Horror is the red balloons, see balloons aren't scary in real life but because they're tethered mentally to something else that is scary their presence becomes scary.
Like, a baby bear in your cabin isn't really scary, baby bears aren't particularly dangerous, but their presence implies a greater danger: Where's the mother? By creating a mental link between the scary thing and the mundane it can make the horror more invasive to people's mundane lives. SyFy's creepypasta show Channel Zero has a decent example--their interpretation of Candle Cove has a very catchy theme song--and hotel showers certainly don't feel quite like they did before Hitchcock's Psycho. The idea of non-dangerous things being the telegraph for dangerous things lurking somewhere is a resonant one, and the red balloons in It really are a great example. They show up in places where red balloons ought not be, and in an abundance that's excessive even if they are supposed to be there, which creates a weird sense of dread. You know The Threat is there and The Threat made it's presence clear so you don't even have an advantage in that respect. Stephen King is great at this, by the way, taking things that aren't scary and filling you with dread anyway by making them the waypoint between the true horror.
So those are my thoughts on Icon Horror. What are some good examples of creepypastas with Icon Horror? The best I can think of off the top of my head are those haunted videogame pastas, though that's not a perfect example.