Thursday, March 5, 2009

Creepier when it could be real

Normally on Fridays, we do an episode recap, but since Natalie already did a recap of "Family Remains" (last night's repeat episode) back in January, I decided to talk about an aspect of this episode that really creeps me out -- the fact that it could happen.

My husband was saying last night that he thought I had nightmares because I watch scary shows like Supernatural. But my nightmares are about people chasing me or other scary things that happen in real life, not vampires and werewolves and skinwalkers. To me, the things that could happen in real life are way scarier than myths dreamed up in someone's imagination. Paranormal tales don't bother me. Slasher movies do. That's why, no matter how much I love Jared and Jensen, I can't watch Friday the 13th or My Bloody Valentine. The nightmares would be awful. I mean, I already hate the dark and waking up in the middle of the night wondering what noise woke me up.

In "Family Remains," we have a couple of young people who have been kept in the epitome of a dysfunctional situation. They are a product of incest, and their father/grandfather has kept them either locked in the house or in the walls for a couple of decades. No wonder they're disturbed. But what's even scarier than the moment when the creepy "ghost" girl steps across the circle of salt and Dean realizes that she's human is the fact that this scenario is not outside the realm of possibility. After all, the news covered a case out of Austria last year where a man was arrested for imprisoning his daughter and the three children they had together in his cellar for 24 years! I cannot imagine the horror. Sure, she didn't break free and start killing off members of a nice family who bought the house, but you'd sort of understand if she did.

Another non-supernatural Supernatural episode that gave me a serious case of the creeps was "The Benders" from Season One. In this one, Sam and Dean have their first case where they end up dealing with seriously messed-up humans instead of some evil supernatural force. It forces them to face the question of how to deal with non-supernatural baddies, and at the same time makes it difficult for me to enjoy a walk in the woods anywhere near an old house. Again, it's possible that a backwoods family would get their disturbing kicks out of kidnapping and hunting fellow humans.

These "dealing with humans" episodes are among my least favorite because of the real-life creep factor and the fact that they don't really relate to the show's theme of dealing with supernatural beings and situations. I much prefer my scary to be of the "couldn't happen in real life" variety. I can watch Underworld all day, but I would only watch Texas Chainsaw Massacre or The Shining of my life depended on it.

So, what about you? What do you think of these "real life" episodes? Do they creep you out more than ones filled with wendigos and ghosts? Do you wish the writers would steer clear of these types of antagonists and let the Winchester boys focus on supernatural bad dudes?