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Just Be Careful Out There

Estimated reading time โ€” < 1 minute

Many classic horror icons, such as Geger’s Xenomorphs, Silent Hill’s Pyramid Head, and other disturbing creatures, share common characteristics. Pale skin, dark, sunken eyes, elongated faces, sharp teeth, and the like. These images inspire horror and revulsion in many, and with good reason. The characteristics shared by these faces are imprinted in the human mind.

Many things frighten humans instinctively. The fear is natural, and does not need to be reinforced in order to terrify. The fears are species-wide, stemming from dark times in the past when lightning could mean the burning of your tree home, thunder could be the approaching gallops of a stampede, predators could hide in darkness, and heights could make poor footing lethal.

The question you have to ask yourself is this:


What happened, deep in the hidden eras before history began, that could effect the entire human race so evenly as to give the entire species a deep, instinctual, and lasting fear of pale beings with dark, sunken eyes, razor sharp teeth, and elongated faces?


… Just be careful out there.

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73 thoughts on “Just Be Careful Out There”

  1. Aside from the worst example ever in CP so far (mentioned creatures do not have the listed characteristics), are we actually scared by pale/elongated faces and sunken eyes? Pointy teeth sure, they scare people, and for a reason, but I know many people with pale faces (including myself( and or sunken eyes, and they are not scary. Sunken eyes themselves aren’t, they just make me think someone is dead tired, rather than actually dead. So wrong example, wrong premises, but the advice is still good, be careful out there, it’s always a good idea.

  2. All this means is in the hidden eras before history began we f*cked those long faces up thats why theyr’e not around anymore! MURICA’!

  3. I liked this idea. It may have some logical flaws, but this is fiction. You’re supposed to suspend your disbelief a LITTLE bit. If you take it totally at face value, it DOES succeed at being creepy.

  4. I think that we are scared of these things because they are the opposite of “pleasant” in our eyes. Pale skin vs tan skin, dark eyes or no eyes at all vs full, lively eyes, sharp teeth vs smooth teeth, and elongated faces vs pleasant round faces. :)

  5. Granted, Pyramid Head can be a bit unsettling, but he fits nothing from the above description, save for the paleness. I’m pale though, does that mean I’m a monster? Check your facts first, please.

    And one could argue that PH has an elongated head. I guess technically he does, but all it is is a helmet. Durr.

  6. you never know

    wow, people, isnt it even a little bit possible he didnt mean all of those things, the xenomorphs and pyramid head had all those traits? he said elongated heads, alien and pyramid head, sharp teeth, sunk in eyes? alien. also, yeah, the alien did have a sort of sunk in orbital socket, where it might’ve had eyes. plus, I think, that while the whole,lions, bearsw, lions, all these things do match it…but I think terror birds. giant seven foot tall birds with long serrated beaks, sunk in eyes, and pale feathers? or dinosaurs. they coulda survived, you never know.

  7. Because those characteristics remind the entire human race of the British. Even the British are scared of themselves, that’s how scary and loathsome they are.

  8. @anonypoke, so some terrifying creature brought the human race into existence so evenly… ? you’re a fucking moron

  9. Sounds a lot like something I heard in a foreign film.
    Really creepy, it’s called Marebito.
    Directed by the person who did the Grudge.
    It makes me afraid of going underground.

  10. “What happened, deep in the hidden eras before history began, that could effect the entire human race so evenly as to give the entire species a deep, instinctual, and lasting fear of pale beings with dark, sunken eyes, razor sharp teeth, and elongated faces?”

    Exaggerated descriptions of cougars, wolves, bears, and whatever else fed upon early humanity.

    If YOU’RE a caveman, and you just saw your entire group of hunters get slaughtered by an even bigger pack of lions, in your stark terror are YOU going to keep a cool enough head to describe what you literally saw?

  11. Uncanny valley. We’re scared of things that resemble humans but aren’t.

    On top of that, the appearance described here includes several symptoms of decay. Corpses are scary as they signify recent death and the potential of more.

    The concept is a bit creepy to entertain, but falls apart as the examples mentioned don’t match the specific appearance, and there are logical reasons why it is scary. It’s not a consistently specific and seemingly arbitrary fear.

    To see a masterful mindfuck on that subject, read Clarke’s Childhood’s End – it explains why we paint demons with horns. (In actuality probably a vestige of pagan animal-worship.)

  12. Xenomorphs don’t have pale skin. Pyramid Head doesn’t show any teeth. Neither have/show eyes.

    Great creepy concept, but storytelling fail.

  13. Sharks maybe?

    Razor sharp teeth – check
    Pale skin – check
    Elongated heads – check
    Dark sunken eyes – check

    Will rip you to shreds without mercy. – check.

  14. anon,at the tope,you say pyramid head is nothign of these,well,hes pale skin,isnt he,and he does have an elongated face,althoug htis a giant elongated metal pyramid

  15. Its aliens, dumb-asses.
    Elongated heads? Aliens.
    Pale skin? Grey aliens.
    Sunken eyes? Aliens.
    Sharp teeth? Predatory aliens.


  16. shortys roc my sox

    @ The person formerly known as ‘noneya’



  17. humans fear what is different
    we also fear the unknown…no creature in our world looks like said description and therefore we fear it because it is not familiar to us

  18. Like other people have said, there are understandable reasons for fear of all these qualities. Combining them like this is an interesting idea, but seems kind of random when only two examples are given and each of them has only two of the four qualities.

  19. The person formerly known as 'noneya'

    I always think of elves when I hear this one. not the tolkien-tall-and-pretty ones, or the santa clause Happy-munchkin ones, the old fashioned kind that liked to kill and kidnap people and let them go hundreds of years later.

    Sorry, I have to post this quote now.

    Elves are wonderful. They provoke wonder.
    Elves are marvellous. They cause marvels.
    Elves are fantastic. They create fantasies.
    Elves are glamorous. They project glamour.
    Elves are enchanting. They weave enchantment.
    Elves are terrific. They beget terror.
    The thing about words is that meanings can twist just like a snake, and if you want to find snakes look for them behind words that have changed their meaning.
    Nobody said elves were NICE.
    Elves are BAD.

    โ€“ Lords and Ladies

  20. Your all fools.

    These traits may be similar to other ones, but dont be fooled. Whatever creature has given us this species-wide fear, its waiting.

    In the dark.

    In the deep.

  21. So, essentially, we fear creatures who are pale, with dark, sunken eyes, razor sharp teeth, and elongated faces because of a combination of our instinctual fears. Firstly, our fear of death (pallid skin tone, dark, lifeless, eyes) and secondly, our instinctual fear of predators (razor sharp teeth, elongated heads).

    Perhaps our fear is additionally intensified by the combination of both fears. The fact that death (fear no.1) could result from an encounter with a natural predator (fear no.2) ensues that we are especially afraid of Xenomorphs and Pyramid head – characters that play on both instinctual fears.

  22. Readman:

    The elongated heads are a throwback to days long past. When humans weren’t the top of the food chain, many things wanted to nom on our tasty, tasty flesh. Most large predators had elongated heads.

  23. The Piano Player

    Pyramid Head is pale with an elongated head
    The Xenomorphs have elongated heads and sharp teeth

  24. Razor-sharp teeth makes sense (so much sense in fact, that I would question your mental processes if you didn’t catch this).

    Elongated heads? Now that’s a hard one. Maybe other early proto-human species had elongated heads. Maybe there was a species in our early evolutionary history that hunted us. Maybe it was an accidental genetic defect that managed to weasel itself into humanity’s psyche over a few hundred thousand generations.

  25. Pale skin, dark, sunken eyes?

    Sounds like the recently deceased, or someone suffering from scurvy.

    So were either afraid of the dead/death, or were afraid of a sudden lack of fruits.

  26. actually, it’s probably just scary to us because there is no creature that ever looked like that. It’s unique, and we fear that.

  27. Hmm. I like this idea. It does have a very real basis in being a prey species. Its kind of easily explained that way, but I like the way the author did it better.

  28. You have a point, icarus.

    Someone on /x/ actually explained this once. The sunken eyes and pale skin remind us of sickness and death, which we wanted to avoid lest we ourselves get sick, thus the fear of those things. Most predators have elongated faces and sharp teeth.

    Enigma revealed.

  29. rather than argue semantics maybe we should consider what the author was getting at.

    Why ARE those things so scary to us (regardless of which named characters have/don’t have them)?

    1. Endoplasmic Reticulum

      Sunken dark eyes and pale skin are a characteristic of dead people and almost all of our natural predators have sharp teeth.

  30. Pyramid head and the Xenomorphs don’t have dark sunken eyes, they don’t even have (visible) eyes. Pyramid head doesn’t have sharp teeth, and the Xenomorph doesn’t have pale skin. Maybe find something that has all these before putting them in the story eh?

      1. Affect and effect are both proper words, one is a verb, the other is a descriptive term. Affect is the verb form, as in “It has an affect of…” while “effect” is the descriptive term, as in “There’s a strong effect”. If I remember correctly. But they are both proper words.

        1. Mispelt and mispelled are both correct, but mispelt is more common in Britain than it is in America. And he did mispell “affect” he wrote “effect” when it should have been the former.

  31. This one’s never made sense to me. Pyramid Head is NONE of the things that they reference in the last paragraph. At all. I think the original writer just threw him in because he’s popular.

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