The Shortest of Horror Stories

By: Chanell “Chainsaw” Thomas

The two sentence horror story introduces a very different type of horror. This Internet phenomenon began on a reddit forum one year ago. The forum asked its readers: “What’s the best horror story you can come up with in two sentences?” This forum received over 15,000 responses, and many of them are extremely unsettling. However, in addition to being unsettling, these stories revolutionize how horror stories are told.

Personally, I believe these stories are so unsettling because they are all basic plots. However, nothing else about the story is determined; any one of us could become the protagonist. These strange occurrences could happen to anyone, because very few of the story’s protagonists are specified. For example,

“After so many years living alone in this large house I came to a startling revelation. In this time I had closed far more doors than I had opened.”  -namelessuser

This story could potentially apply to anyone who has lived alone. Leaving so many loose ends in story telling forces me, as the reader, to put myself into the protagonist’s shoes, because the author does not give me anyone to identify with. This, I believe, is more effective than forcing readers to care about a character. Let’s be honest, everything is worse when it is happening to you. As these stories become more popular, executives in the film industry are starting to take notice. It’s possible that some of these stories may be used as plotlines in upcoming horror films.

Although I would love to see directors and screenwriters flex their creativity and flesh out these stories, I believe I would be disappointed with the end result. The film industry, especially within horror, has become a money making machine. Many executives release horror films to reap the profits without truly believing in the scary story, which would explain why there have been seven Saw films. I am very concerned that these 2 sentence horror stories would suffer the same fate. A once scary and simplistic story could become a stereotypical, unfulfilling horror trope that makes me cringe when I think about the price of the ticket. As long as Hollywood makes the film about the story and the basic horror of it, they may be able to begin a new trend that would revolutionize horror and storytelling.

Furthermore, I invite you to visit the reddit post and read through the stories; click here! If you’d like, you can write your own two sentence horror story in the comments below. I’ll start:

“I wish I wasn’t able to sleep through my brothers screams. But the door is locked, she can’t be caught, and he never remembers his tears or her laughter the next day.”

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6 thoughts on “The Shortest of Horror Stories

  1. What an interesting forum! People usually don’t think horror can be simple. People assume it must be intricate, developed, and extremely abnormal. However, horror can exist in very simple forms in reality. For example, “Little did she know that day by day I was brainwashing her into believing and doing everything I say. I was taking advantage of her love for me, turning her into my minion.”

  2. Thanks for sharing this forum the posts have been really cool! I actually follow something on twitter called @veryshortstory that posts frequent stories 140 characters or under and each time I am amazed at the creativity it takes to actually make a story come alive in something as little as 2 sentences. I agree with you that the shorter form places us directly in the plot and the loose ends are what allow us to easily imagine ourselves in these strange, frightful situations!

  3. I had never seen or read any of these two-sentence horror stories, but I find them captivating. In class, we often discussed the way that horror stories use different strategies that allow the viewer/reader to put themselves into the shoes of the characters, fill in the missing details and imagine the worst. This is something you touch on here, by suggesting that these tiny stories are appealing in that they are easy to plant ourselves in. Clearly, this is an important aspect of any horror story.

  4. The two-sentence horror stories seems like such a simple idea but I can understand why they are so terrifying. When I read the two you posted, I agree that they can be applicable to most people but in addition, they allow our imaginations to run wild. At least in my case, the fewer the information can be more horrifying because I create my own thoughts and visions in my head. However, prior to this post, I always thought horror had to be detailed as JoJo mentioned and now I have a new perspective.

  5. Reddit is such an excellent site for horror. My favorite of these has to be:
    “After working a hard day I came home to see my girlfriend cradling our child. I didn’t know which was more frightening, seeing my dead girlfriend and stillborn child, or knowing that someone broke into my apartment to place them there.”
    I don’t think a longer story could’ve made this any more horrifying. I also like that it asks you to think about which is more frightening, and I would have to say knowing that someone put them there. Only a really sick demented person would take the time to orchestrate something like that, and what a poor man to have suffered such a tremendous tragedy and then to have to basically relive it in the most real and physical way. Even if this man did horrible things, which isn’t in any way suggested but obviously possible due to the lack of details, it doesn’t affect your opinion of the situation because it is so absolutely horrible and tragic. What a way to utterly devastate someone depicted in only two sentences. I like these short stories because they’re concise and they don’t waste any time dilly-dallying with unnecessary filler information,and have the potential to deliver very powerful terror.

  6. This is great because I went in Tumblr recently and found something similar to this, except they were “two picture, horror stories” and so instead of two sentences it was tow pictures with subtitles, the only difference is that it gave an image to the sentence which completely terrified me and I actually kind of enjoyed it. Thank you for sharing this page, I now have something to distract me from work and terrify me at the same time. Talk about a guilty pleasure!

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