A Hollywood Lesson on How to Spot a Creep

| September 26, 2013
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Dano and Gyllenhaal in Prisoners / Alcon Entertainment

Dano and Gyllenhaal in Prisoners / Alcon Entertainment

I can’t tell you how excited I was to catch another Jake Gyllenhaal cop drama. As Jake and Hugh Jackman made their rounds on morning shows to promote their upcoming film Prisoners, I prepped for what was sure to be an intense cinematic adventure. But when I finally had the chance to see Prisoners in all its riveting, two and a half hour glory, it wasn’t the handsome leading men that captured my attention, it was the creeps.

As it turns out, Prisoners is not short on creeps (but don’t worry I won’t give anything away). Creeps abound! From theatrical trailers, the general public knows that Prisoners also stars Paul Dano, an actor who in recent years has seemed to embrace the role of “the creep” with grace, if that’s possible. When I saw him in There Will Be Blood, it was chilling. He was downright eerie playing Eli Sunday and Paul Sunday, and it made me extremely uncomfortable. He’s an excellent creep and his frightening skills are not just derived from his acting abilities but also by his physical appearance. Though rather handsome by the light of day, on screen that guy just looks spooky.

And that’s the beauty of creepy characters. Most times we can spot them a mile away. They have physical features that let us know they just ain’t right. Their odd mannerisms totally give them away, from their inability to effectively communicate to their posture and their eyes. Occasionally, a creep is skilled at masking his or her ghoulishness but, inevitably, their true disturbing personality eventually shines through.

In case you’re not adept at spotting creepers, here are a few characteristics that should tip you off. Most creepy creeps exhibit several of the following traits.

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Staring: It’s all in the eyes with creeps. The eyes, as they say, are the “window to the soul,” and for a troubled soul the eyes give it all away. A cold stare or a vacant one will have the same chilling effect on its recipient.

Paul Dano as Eli Sunday/ Miramax Films

Paul Dano as Eli Sunday/ Miramax Films

Posture: Most creepies have an odd stance, either hunched and turned into themselves or upright and soldier-like. It seems they just cannot relax and their posture, the way their hold their head, arms, and hands can have a formidable effect.

"Hello Clarice." - Hannibal Lecter /Orion Pictures

“Hello Clarice.” – Hannibal Lecter /Orion Pictures

Cadence: The creepiest people have a very specific way for speaking. Many times they remain silent most of the time using their eyes to do the talking, but, when they do speak, their voices are often rhythmic, slow, and icy. They want you to hear every word, so they deliver each with clarity.

Harvey Stephens as Damien in the Omen / Twentieth Century Fox Films

Harvey Stephens as Damien in the Omen / Twentieth Century Fox Films

Poker Face: Often a creep will remain expressionless. Nothing seems to shake them, even if the world is exploding around them. Their lack of emotion indicates a mental disconnect from the rest of the world and it’s just well, disturbing.

Norman Bates, mama's boy / Shamley Productions

Norman Bates, mama’s boy / Shamley Productions

Too Close to Mom: I adore my mom as much as the next guy, but it’s when that love goes beyond the scope of healthy that it becomes alarming. The good old Oedipus Complex (ya know, mom-obsession/lust) is a great indicator of a high creep factor. If he or she jumps whenever mom snaps, it’s time for our hero to hit the road.

Ellen Burstyn in Requiem for a Dream / Artisan

Ellen Burstyn in Requiem for a Dream / Artisan

Pale … or Sweaty Looking: I’ve noticed most movie creeps are white, and the whiter the better. Pale skin gives an uber eerie effect and tends to indicate its wearer is a weirdo. But if the creep isn’t overly pale, he or she is slightly sweaty, also glistening. This makes them look uncomfortable and like they may snap at any moment.

Stanley Tucci as George Harvey in The Lovely Bones / DreamWorks

Stanley Tucci as George Harvey in The Lovely Bones / DreamWorks

Loner: Most people have buddies or at least one friend or companion, but not creeps. They tend to go it alone all the time making people wonder just what they’re up to. Of course, it is assumed they are up to no good.

Creepy Lonnie in Deliverance / Warner Bros.

Creepy Lonnie in Deliverance / Warner Bros.

Children: Let’s just face it, kids are super creepy. What with their tiny hands and menacing eyes and all. With little effort, a serene yet cold-staring kid can give just about anyone the heebie jeebies.

Now that you can spot the movie creeps with ease, you can take these skills to the streets. Just remember, not every pale person, or loner, or posture-perfect person is a creep.

What creepy qualities make your skin crawl?

 

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About the Author ()

Natalie Grace Sweet is a writer and rock n' roller working hard to maintain her East Coast sass while residing in the Narnia-like paradise of San Francisco. An unapologetic lover of ice hockey and acrylic nails, Natalie spends much of her free time perfecting her one-liners and planning nutritious meals.

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