My son introduced me to the website TV Tropes, and it is probably the most addictive site I’ve found (barring Reddit, my favorite). TV Tropes calls itself the, “All devouring pop-culture wiki”. If you ever wanted to waste a few hours exploring how the Slender Man lore fits in with H.P. Lovecraft, then this is your website. There are so many rabbit holes to fall through…and keep falling through endlessly. Which is what led me to fridge horror.
Today, I decided to pick a popular trope, in this case ‘fridge horror’ and apply it to a few horror movies. I have used examples from TV Tropes; although, I know I’ll be coming up with my own examples throughout the day as I continue thinking about this post. (Which, strangely, is what fridge horror is all about.)
So what is fridge horror? According to the wiki, it has nothing to do with refrigerators. Instead, it means that something becomes terrifying after the fact. That is, it’s only after you start thinking about something that it becomes truly horrible. Let me give some examples.
Have you seen Sam Raimi’s Drag me to Hell? Once you finish the rollicking ride that is the movie, the message starts to sink in. Can you imagine how terrible it would be if someone could lay a curse on you for something minor, and you’d be literally dragged to hell for all eternity? Well, that’s Christine’s fate when she’s cursed by an old woman. It’s a terrifying concept.
The Purge has multiple examples of fridge horror. For example, think of how generations of kids will normalize this event. After all, they grew up living it. Also, what would this event mean for college campuses? Students wouldn’t the only ones doing the killing. Imagine meeting up with your professor on the night of the purge. You’d better be in his good graces!
My own example of this is the movie Triangle (2009) which is actually a movie that really freaked me out. In the story, a woman named Jess gets stuck in a time loop and cannot escape. The loop itself is scary, but there are some in-your-face clues as to how long she’s been stuck in it. (Hint: a very long time). After watching that movie, the real horror of Jess’s situation sunk in, leaving me more uncomfortable than ever.
If you have time to spare, I really recommend the TV Tropes website to you. And if you have examples of your own ‘fridge horror’ movies, I’d love to hear about them in the comments.