Creepypasta Critique: Jeff the Killer Sucks

Truly, a face not even a mother could love!

Truly, a face not even a mother could love!

Okay, before all you Jeff fans throw me to the wolves, hear me out. Those who are unfamiliar with the story can read it here and get acquainted with this merciless fellow.

Jeff the Killer is a psychotic young man who was maimed when neighborhood bullies attacked him and set him on fire. This triggered his psychosis, causing him to become a murderous lunatic and he now enjoys a life of murdering anyone and everyone he can get his hands on. He’s so ubiquitous with creepypasta, anyone who has ever spent their time reading such internet tales has at least heard of him. However, there is one significant problem with our pale-faced friend: his story sucks!

The number of bizarre plot points is significant: Suburban kids pulling knives and guns like they’re an intercity gang, the lack of involvement from intelligent adults and parents, poorly constructed motivations for revenge, not to mention the fire maiming Jeff in ways not possible in the real world. The dialogue and prose aren’t impressive either as events occur quickly with little reflection or emotional investment (Poor Jeff is depressed that his bother was arrested and sent to juvenile detention…oh well, make him cheer up and go to a silly kids party anyway!).

I’m sure many have noticed that his appearance is similar to version of Christopher Nolan’s version of the Joker. Come on, the guy cuts a smile into his face! Why so serious, Jeff? But I digress

This story makes the perfectionist part of me go a little bonkers because I want to fix the story somehow, like I’m an editor with a serious case of OCD.

I’ve heard a lot of people say that it doesn’t matter. That it’s just a story made for entertainment and not to be taken seriously, and it should be enjoyed for what it is. I disagree on all of these points. I don’t care if it’s a movie, TV show, book, or a short story on the internet; bad writing always gets to me. The plot holes, the lack of realism, bad dialogue: all of these issues take away my ability to immerse myself, to suspend my disbelief and enjoy the moment. All this story does is tick me off and wonder why I’m wasting my time when I could be reading something better. Forget getting creeped out or scared! There are many creepypastas that are much better than this.

All I’m saying is put effort into what you do. It really does make a difference.

Yes it is an internet story written by an amateur. We’ve all got to start somewhere when it comes to writing, and whoever wrote Jeff the Killer must be commended for their creativity. I certainly understand that it not something the author was getting paid for or anything, but why give success to such a lackluster story? Why couldn’t the original author do a little more editing before sharing it with all of us? The story just proves to me people are lazy and don’t care about the quality of what they do manage to produce.

So if the original story is so terrible, how has Jeff become such an iconic character in the creepypasta community? The answer, in my personal opinion, is that damned picture. Like many well known horror villains, Jeff’s features are striking and frightening, yet instantly recognizable. This is a trait of many horror movie villains; Michael Meyers has his creepy William Shatner mask, Freddy Kruger’ has a burned face of his own with a clawed hand and bold sweater, and Jason Voorhees has his hockey mask and machete. Most of these slasher flicks aren’t very good either, yet these characters have entered mainstream culture as well. Jeff’s even has his own catchphrase going for him, and easy to reference. I really wouldn’t be surprised if Hollywood tries to rip the internet off and make a movie with him at some point.

I suppose my point is that even though the story that spawned Jeff is a bore, the character has redeeming qualities that manage to make him one of the most popular creepypasta characters on the internet. I don’t hate Jeff, I hate bad writing!

So what do all of you readers think? Could the story be improved? Are you a fan of Jeff the Killer? Why do you think he’s become so popular? I’d love to hear your thoughts!


25 Responses to “Creepypasta Critique: Jeff the Killer Sucks”

  1. I agree; story is way overrated and absurd…but, as you pointed out. That pic is haunting and, in fairness, Jeff’s catchphrase ain’t bad.

    • Absolutely! I’ve always thought of writing a ‘remake’ of the story in order to give poor Jeff proper justice, but I worry I would look like I was stealing another person’s ideas. Just look at modern horror remakes; hardly any creativity to be found.

  2. Oh my God, you are so right. It really pisses me off that such an uninspired piece has become so viral these days. I’ve also contemplated rewritting the JTK story, but honestly it’s not worth it. I totally agree with you, it’s pretty obvious that only thing keeping Jeff the Killer above water are the fangirls. Fuck the internet.

    • One of the things I’ve learned is you can never, ever really predict what will become popular. It doesn’t really matter if it’s ‘bad’ or ‘good’ in any sense, but it does have to strike a chord with your audience.

      Just look at the Twilight series: it’s absolute nonsense but female audiences loved it because it took advantage of an under-catered niche. In Jeff’s case, he caters to disenfranchised youth and bullying has been a hot topic in pop culture lately.

    • True true…

  3. i agree with you the story dose suck one thing i got a kick out of though was when one of the bad kids don’t remember the name who the writer describe to be the size of a house could jump over a fence with ease

  4. also i thinks this story came out before dark knight

    • Bch plz! The first Batman issue was in 1940. The ‘Glasgow smile’ Joker’s first appearance was in the 1989 Batman film, played by Jack Nicholson (yes his mouth was carved into a smile, & the surgeon even explained why). Creepypasta started near 2007.
      So there.

      Besides I think both of them are a rip off of Kuchi-sake Onna (Slit-mouthed Woman) which is a Japanese folktale from the Heian period, which was from 794 to 1185 A.D. Even Jeff’s “am I beautiful?” Was ripped off from her.

      • Dude, calm down. I was only trying to point out the similarities. I’m certainly no Batman expert, and I’m not familiar with all the Batman films. I’ve only seen one of the Nolan films and the one where Jim Carrey played the Riddler.

        Not so sure about the connection to Kuchi-sake Onna, although I do see why you would think that. The similarities are there. However, I recall reading how the Joker’s character is based off of Conrad Veidt, an actor who played Gwynplaine in the 1928 film The Man Who Laughs. I recommend checking it out, or at the very least do an image search. It’s quite a sight!

  5. Jeff is just begging for a new origin story. I think the actual set up is pretty good. Bullied kid becomes a killer may be a common story thread, but there’s a good reason it endures like it does, it’s like the cycle of abuse on a grander scale. But yes, the story itself and its ridiculous oddities hurt the hell out of it. I wish Creepypasta would still accept Jeff stories so that someone could revamp him in a similar but smarter way. Because there is a lot to like about Jeff, it’s ironically one of the most important things about him that’s all wrong.

    • Thanks so much for the thoughtful comment! Perhaps someday I’ll post my own version of Jeff’s origins, because I do find his character strangely endearing despite his disturbed nature.

      I imagine it’s hard to approve of new Jeff stories because of his popularity. It’s very hard to control quality when there’s so many fans making their own tales, especially when most of them are young amateur writers. Fans also run the risk of beating the poor fellow into the ground like a dead horse.

  6. Finally someone puts it into words!

  7. Kemyon Pannell Says:

    Hello writer of this entry Im a student in a journalism class about to write a article on CreepyPasta’s. It would be a pleasure if I could interview you via Email please contact me Thankyou.

  8. Jeff became popular for the same reason Twilight & Justin Bieber became popular…. FANGIRLS.

  9. Nicola Marie Jackson Says:

    I like how the hospital make him leave in the clothes they he was almost burned alive in. Classy xx

  10. Do you wanna know what’s sad though. I can’t even like the image, because the author stole the original unedited photo from an obese girl who killed herself because of bullying on 4chan… I can’t like any part of it

  11. Lachlan is right about the photo’s origin, but the author didn’t even edit the photo. The obese girl in question supposedly posted her picture online and people thought it was funny and made edits of it, one of the edits being an early version of the Jeff the killer photo.

    It became one of the original creepypastas and there were multiple stories on the origin of the photo. The most famous version that reads as if it were written by a 12 year old is basically just fan-fiction.

    Why it got popular, idfk ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  12. Also there is no prior indication of insanity in this story, its just BOOM. He’s insane. Liu and Jane the killer are even more of an insult to my intelligence, liu has no reason to go mad and Jane as well. Still glad to see that I’m not the only one who hates Jeff the killer.

  13. I don’t get why on earth he’s so freaking popular. You know who needs a lot more love? Dr. Smiley I look up fan fictions for him and basically nothing comes up. When I search up fan art for him, almost nothing comes up. People need to let go of Jeff and actually read some other creepypastas.

  14. HollyWizzle Says:

    I think Jeff the killer is the perfect example of kids nowadays wanting to be famous with little effort and no talent. I think this story is for kids. Young kids. Kids that are too young to realize just how cringeworthy it is. I feel bad criticising it because whomever wrote this is too young to understand science (bleach/vodka…not flammable.) they’re too young to understand the justice system (two cops don’t look at each other, shake their heads and sentence you to a year in a juvinile detention center) and the point has been brought up, but suburban middle class 13 year olds don’t pack heat. They pack lunch. It’s the stinkiest piece of shit I’ve ever read.

  15. Cookiecutter Says:

    My CP OC’s story is honestly no better than Jeff’s (her story’s here: it’s really not well written), but Jeff’s story is extremely overused and unoriginal. The only thing scary about it is the picture of him, which isn’t even creepy after enough looking at it and getting use to it.
    I hate the image, since it’s literally a photoshop of an obese girl who was cyberbullied and committed suicide, and she has to live on through this monstrosity. Horrible..

  16. Alice Wright Says:

    JTK reminds me of the Japanese urban legend, Kuchisake-Onna appearance wise. Plus they use similar weapons and catchphrases. ‘Do you think I’m beautiful?’ Is one of the two catchphrases of Kuchisake-Onna. ‘Am I beautiful?’ Is said within the Jeff the Killer story (from what I know)

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