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The Horror Newspaper Revelation Scene

Banes at 12:00AM, Aug. 18, 2022

There's a standard scene, particularly in a certain kind of horror movie, where the Protagonist or another character finds a room, or a book, full of newspaper clippings. The villain of the movie has clipped out a scrapbook or wall filled with a record of their evil doings.

It's an effective visual and story technique to reveal…or prove…the extent of the villain's monstrous history.

It's one of a series of things that may need an overhaul in modern horror movies, as technology changes. At least the crimes are often from years past, so newpapers will still be make sense for this scene. But eventually newspapers may disappear completely. Maybe not - I suppose we'll have to wait and see.
Will the future Protagonist Detective go into a creepy cabin and find a folder on the murderous hillbilly's laptop? This is already done is thrillers, but might be less suited to a backwoods slasher flick…

This scene - as effective as it can be - is also kind of a cliche. I mean, how many killers are dedicated scrap-bookers and record-keepers? They can't ALL have that kind of hobby.

Or maybe I'm wrong.

In certain scenes in certain kinds of stories, the logic doesn't matter nearly as much as the emotional impact.

I do think variations on this approach are needed.

The scapbook in “Misery”, the wall-clippings in “Tucker and Dale vs. Evil” are two that come to mind. I know this scene is one of those that have been done over and over and over.

If I become a mass murderer, I may have to take up scrap-booking, I suppose. It's a whole additional hobby to add to the stalking, tormenting and murdering, though.

There are only so many hours in the day!

See you next time!




EssayBee at 1:19PM, Aug. 19, 2022

Always wanted to see the horror film where the detectives find a newspaper scrapbook and flip through it with growing horror. "My god," they whisper before the reverse shot shows the scrapbooks are a huge collection of Cathy newspaper strips.

hushicho at 4:49PM, Aug. 18, 2022

I was very surprised at how enjoyable Tucker and Dale vs. Evil was. The newspaper clipping sequence is really easy to use to educate the audience at the same time as confirming a character's suspicions, and it's a pretty good staple as a storytelling method. It at least doesn't require at least one character to be unbelievably ignorant of a situation they're currently in.

Banes at 10:02AM, Aug. 18, 2022

@Jason - True, it has basis in fact!

Jason Moon at 7:47AM, Aug. 18, 2022

The collection of newspaper clippings would be the killers memoirs to relive their kills. I have seen the scrapbook idea with killers before but most of the time the killer keeps something that belonged to or was apart of the victim. Dexter keeping blood vials in a box in his air conditioning unit or jeepers creepers keeping it's victims skin for decorating it's cellar walls.

Banes at 7:39AM, Aug. 18, 2022

@Paul - Haha! Indeed!

Banes at 7:38AM, Aug. 18, 2022

@Commissar_Tarkin - that's true! I've seen it used here and there in romantic comedy once in awhile as well. And I just remembered a comedic take on the "suddenly revealed deception" trope. I'll try and find the link.

Banes at 7:36AM, Aug. 18, 2022

@dpat57 - haha! Hey, wait a minute...! @bravo - that's actually a great point. Our entire lives and histories are much more exposed now. A fiend doesn't even need to go to the trouble of a shrine.

PaulEberhardt at 7:14AM, Aug. 18, 2022

For some reason, serial killers and mad stalkers do have a kind of secret shrine - it's got to be a shrine, else it may be just someone too lazy to bring out the rubbish. ;)

Commissar_Tarkin at 3:19AM, Aug. 18, 2022

The whole "newspaper reveal" device is also present a lot in supernatural horror, where the viewer is supposed to discover that someone-or-other was DEAD ALL ALONG, tun-tun-tunnnnnnn!

bravo1102 at 12:27AM, Aug. 18, 2022

It's already happened in real life. Investigators found incriminating photos and videos on the culprit's phone. There has also been posts on social media. It's already happened.

dpat57 at 12:11AM, Aug. 18, 2022

And then there's the scene where the detective realizes the murdering fiend actually confessed their crimes, but in such a clever way that no one took them seriously. Like in a random blog post on a comic hosting site.

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