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Haunted objects, networked subjects: The nightmarish nostalgia of creepypasta

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In this article, we argue that the digitally networked horror genre ‘creepypasta’ and its networked horror collapses the comfortable dichotomy of subjects acting upon objects by creating narrative spaces in which haunted objects encroach upon the lives of their victimized subjects. Particularly, creepypasta legends such as ‘Candle Cove’ and ‘BEN Drowned’ upset the subject/object relationships of the technological nostalgia that fuels a mutating genre of Internet discourse. By alienating mythologized childhood artefacts (i.e., television shows, video games), these networked narratives depict not how properties can be made strange, but more accurately, are revealed as having always been strange. The perversion of the nostalgic text is only one part of what generates horror in these stories. It is that the texts themselves were always the perversions to begin with; always performing an eradication of object and subject, player and game, reader and text.
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Keywords: actancy; creepypasta; glitch horror; material performance; networks; nostalgia

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Florida

Publication date: October 1, 2018

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  • Horror Studies intends to serve the international academic community in the humanities and specifically those scholars interested in horror. Exclusively examining horror, this journal will provide interested professionals with an opportunity to read outstanding scholarship from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, including work conceived as interdisciplinary. By expanding the conversation to include specialists concerned with diverse historical periods, varied geography, and a wide variety of expressive media, this journal will inform and stimulate anyone interested in a wider and deeper understanding of horror
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