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Creating a "Creep Reveal"

TDKMC1 December 10, 2013 User blog:TDKMC1

This is a blog post about a tactic a friend suggested to me that I wanted to share. On my personal site, I solicited advice for creating a better ending to some of my stories. He calls it the "malign paradigm shift," but I like the title of Creep Reveal better.

So, with a creep reveal, what you do is you slowly ratchet up the creep factor, then reveal an entire new level of creepy underneath it. An example my friend gave was the ball scene in the movie Van Helsing. The gypsy girl Anna is there with Dracula and is a little creeped out by the people there, the way she's being stared at, etc etc. Then Van Helsing and his monk friend drop the curtain off of a giant mirror to expose Dracula for the reflectionless blood-sucking perv he is. The viewer (and the heroes) expect to just see Anna apparently dancing by herself in front of an audience. Instead, they check the reflection and see just Anna- no Dracula, and no audience either. She was the only living human that was a guest, and was surrounded by vampires the entire time.

On the positive side, I feel like this sort of writing can be effective if used correctly. I believe Slimebeast used it to great effect in his story Bonus Room, among others. On the other hand, this one is important to not rush. It's best to use this in a slow pasta to carefully bring up the fear and then rip off an entire remaining layer of sanity to elevate the creepiness factor to new heights. 

Can anyone think of other stories that have used this tactic effectively? Do you think it is an effective tactic at all? What situations/stories could you see that could use the Creep Reveal?

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