Misused: Body Horror

Total posts: [48]
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Body Horror is supposed be about a character mutating/transforming into a monster or having their body change by some kind of parasite, in a way that's horrifying and horrible. A classic example being like Spiderman turning into the mutant "Manspider" in the FOX cartoon.

However it's being misused as a catch all supertrope for "any kind of gore or body parts played for gross out horror". Like bleeding out played as horror, or surgeries, and various injuries (especially mutilation by another character) and body parts shown as horror.

There are other types of misuse too. People are using Body Horror in place of other tropes like The Grotesque, I'm Melting!, and Was Once a Man. It's also evident we're missing a trope for "monsters are ugly and that's scary" since so many character pages are just listing Body Horror under horrifying monster characters.

The problem is probably with the name making the trope sound much broader than it actually is.

example check:

Vague or No Context

Literature/Abarat - no context


edited 1st Jan '14 2:15:23 PM by xanderiskander

2 SeptimusHeap1st Jan 2014 02:30:28 PM from Laniakea , Relationship Status: Mu
Fixed the tag. Given that it has more than 9000 inbounds and 5000+ wicks, a large-scale fix probably won't happen - how does Tropes Are Not Narrow apply in the context of the misuse?

eta: Upon rereading, I think it's indeed a Tropes Are Not Narrow issue - the "shapeshifting" part should not be part of this trope. I've always thought the trope was "body parts/anatomy played for horror".

edited 1st Jan '14 2:41:35 PM by SeptimusHeap

The transformation aspect is even how it's defined in the laconic: "Your body is mutating into something horrible.". So that probably was the original intention.

I agree it would be easier just to broaden it though. The other problem is people are misusing this as "monster character looks scary".

edited 1st Jan '14 3:05:36 PM by xanderiskander

Dragon Writer
Any misuse for scary monster physiology in general (e.g. More Teeth than the Osmond Family, The Eyes Do Not Belong There) does need to go.
5 SeptimusHeap4th Jan 2014 01:40:37 AM from Laniakea , Relationship Status: Mu
That's technically using the supertrope for the subtrope in my mind - these are all Body Horror-ey stuff.
If we're going by the laconic it sounds like it wasn't intended to be a supertrope at all when it was launched, and ended up being used as one because of a broad name.

So since it has so many inbounds I guess we should work on broadening the description?
7 Noaqiyeum23rd Jan 2014 12:19:21 PM from the October Country , Relationship Status: Showing feelings of an almost human nature
The it-thingy
That seems right.

Any references that should refer to Gorn should be changed, too.
Anyone who looks dangerous is dangerous.

Anyone who doesn't look dangerous is dangerous and sneaky.
I'm with Septimus Heap on this one. Tropes Are Flexible. Let them flex. Changing wicks to point to more specific subtropes is always fine if you want to go do that, but let's not get carried away.

Rule of thumb, if every wick you check comes up as misused, it's far more likely that you are the one misinterpreting the trope.

edited 23rd Jan '14 2:46:40 PM by troacctid

Rhymes with "Protracted."
Well it wasn't all of the examples. I put that misuse in the original post because I thought it was standard form to prove misuse when you make a TRS thread.

And can you show me where I am misinterpreting it? Body Horror's description isn't exactly typical of an all encompassing Super Trope. Every paragraph in the description repeatedly mentions that this has to do with "transforming" or "mutating" in some way and how that's played as fear for the character undergoing the transformation. Even Body Horror's laconic says "Your body is mutating into something horrible". Because of that I don't think it was ever intended to be this broad like the examples are. There's definitely nothing about gore or dismembered body parts mentioned in the description.

Even the page image is from some manga called Parasyte, which is apparently about an alien parasite infecting a person's body, and changing the main character's appearance in creepy ways. So If we go by the description, the laconic, and the page image then this page is about characters/situations like Peter Parker turning into the Mutant Manspider for example.

If you want to make the description reflect how it's currently being used because it's too big to fix then I get that, and like I said before I guess we can do that. But that's not what the page currently says it's about. And nobody has started suggesting any changes to the description.

edited 26th Jan '14 6:11:30 PM by xanderiskander

As far as I can tell the description laconic, page image all say this is about horrifying things happening to a person's body during mutation or transformation. So if anyone thinks I'm misinterpreting Body Horror's description somehow, please explain. Because I am at a loss at where that claim comes from.

And can we get some help figuring out what to do to fix this page please?
11 SeptimusHeap27th Jan 2014 12:57:42 PM from Laniakea , Relationship Status: Mu
Yeah, "likely that you are the one misinterpreting the trope." is not applicable here. The rest of the post stands, though.
Indie Game Developer
I think the best way to treat Body Horror is "Squickiness involving body parts, mutation, or unsettling bodily configuration, not induced by immediate violence."

So, like, having your eye stabbed out is Eye Scream. Having your eye do something super unsettling that eyes normally don't do, like the iris is a mouth full of teeth, or having your body change in that fashion, that's Body Horror.

Being shot in the chest and having your organs exposed is Gorn. Having your chest tear open of its own free will, exposing your organs as your ribcage is repurposed as a gaping maw full of boney teeth? Body horror.

Having your face get cut up isn't body horror. However, the horrifying network of scars left behind is body horror.

A creepy monster isn't nessesarily body horror. A creepy monster which appears to be made out of misused body parts? Body horror.
Welcome, traveller, welcome to Omsk
I like open sketch's idea.
It does not matter who I am. What matters is, who will you become? - motto of Omsk Bird
I kind of always thought that what it was in the first place.
16 Willbyr18th Feb 2014 06:20:27 PM from North Little Rock, AR , Relationship Status: Pining for the fjords
open sketch is on the money.
  • 1 from me, sketch nailed it on the head
Then do we need a new trope to cover the current definition?
I think open sketch is spot on.

I think we're probably going to have to rewrite Body Horror's description. I've been trying to make a write up myself for awhile, but I'm having difficulty writing something good.

edited 21st Feb '14 10:01:36 AM by xanderiskander

20 Larkmarn20th Mar 2014 10:21:27 AM , Relationship Status: Hello, I love you
Bump. Any progress?
21 shimaspawn20th Mar 2014 02:23:59 PM from Here and Now , Relationship Status: In your bunk
Honestly, I think Missing Supertrope Syndrome has caused the trope that sounds like the supertrope to become it. That's not a bad thing. We can always move the more specific Mutation Horror to it's own subtrope and use the wider name of Body Horror for the supertrope it's already being used as.

Deformed Monster could probably use it's own subtrope as well.

edited 20th Mar '14 2:25:08 PM by shimaspawn

Reality is that, which when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.

-Philip K. Dick
I agree with shima; make Body Horror a super then make a subtrope for mutations.
23 Madrugada20th Mar 2014 03:50:52 PM , Relationship Status: In season
I also agree with Shima's assessment and proposal.
...if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do, they’ll kill you for it.
24 Larkmarn20th Mar 2014 09:42:41 PM , Relationship Status: Hello, I love you
Yeah, shima's got a great point all around.
Sounds good. What's also at issue though is what Sketch mentioned. this trope should be about horror induced by things not caused by immediate violence. Like eyes growing teeth would count, but eyes being gouged out would not.

And since Gorn says it's not about being scary it looks like there's another missing subtrope for Gore being played for fear.

Also I tried getting some help with writing a description in the description improvement drive thread, because I was having writer's block. But I didn't get a response.

edited 26th Mar '14 12:01:07 PM by xanderiskander

Single Proposition: Body Horror
20th Mar '14 10:22:37 PM
Vote up for yes, down for no.
At issue:

Total posts: 48
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