Imagine that one day, you’re just standing around, minding your own business and then ZOOP! You’ve been captured! Whisked away to a strange dungeon, and then tortured, and experimented on and… well it’s not pretty, and for many, this a fate worse than death. The Scariest Things Crew explores this trope and has managed to drum up some real sleepers that might be new to you!
No doubt one of the greatest fears of any person is to be taken captive. It doesn’t matter if it’s a random psycho, an alien from outer space, or a cult, if they get their hands on you, it’s your worst nightmare. A fate worse than death! This may not be the first genre you think of when you consider horror tropes, but the idea of the abduction is one that has a surprisingly wide reach.
This trope is one that often times becomes a companion trope to another theme in the same movie. Crime thrillers (The Silence of the Lambs, Along Came a Spider, Prisoners) pit investigators against the clock to find and rescue a captured individual. Torture porn (Saw, Hostel, Turistas) uses the abduction as a central device with sadistic results. Kidnapping is pretty much a pre-requisite for torture porn. Home Invasion (Them, Funny Games, The Strangers) makes abduction personal, going COVID19 style kidnapping at home.
Mad Scientists (The Human Centipede, Tusk) uses the captives as guinea pigs to the disturbingly curious intellects of the captors, and its close cousin, the medical horror film (American Mary, Dr. Giggles, The Skin I Live In) will swap out the chemicals for scalpels. Slasher films (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Hills have Eyes, Frailty) often focuses on the villain(s) and their maniacal and degenerate sick intentions. Slasher films, however tend not to be so much of a user of the abduction, as the maniacs tend to be rovers and don’t let their prey live long enough for an abduction. Even horror Westerns benefit hugely from abductions with Bone Tomahawk and Ravenous taking a gory cue to embellish the classic posse rescue trope so common to that genre.
And, of course, you have the alien abduction trope. Notably the X-Files and Close Encounters of the Third Kind most famously represent the alien abduction film, though neither of these would be considered horror. We’ll bet that when you think of abduction films, your mind immediately goes to… anal probes, right? Now that’s horror! “Oh the horrible things they did to me! It was perverse and wrong!” The idea that travellers from beyond space and time think so little of us that they want to treat us the way we treat frogs in 6th Grade Lab Science is horrifying. And, it is one of the great ethical allegorical examinations of human ethics.
With that, it’s not surprising that The Scariest Things has found a number of hidden gems that you may not have seen or even heard of. There is so much breadth to this category that we had a big buffet to pick from, and we sampled from many of the cross genres listed above, and remarkably none of the movies stated above are in the Podcast, now you’ll have to listen to find out more. Without further ado, here is Episode 106 Abduction Horror!