From legendary horror icon to internet meme: Jeff the Killer

Jeff the KillerJeff the KillerJeff the Killer, a pale knife-wielding murderer, has been around for years. His signature grin and his catchphrase, “Go to Sleep”, is what made him rise to popularity.  He is an icon when it comes to horror stories and tales. However, through the years, it seems the way people view Jeff has changed. His perceived personality has seemed to be altered by the fans. But why would this be?

First, let’s look at the history behind Jeff the Killer. He was first seen on a Newgrounds forum in 2008. This is where the picture was posted for the very first time, and the picture (right) has been speculated to be an altered photo of a girl who committed suicide due to bullying.

The next time Jeff could be seen was on a video posted to YouTube in 2008 that told the story of Jeff. This video was posted by Sesseur and has since been removed.

Since this, Jeff has earned his own Creepypasta official story, narrators reading the story, and tons of popularity and dedicated fans. Fans feared Jeff, but also loved him and the lore surrounding his story.

Along with Jeff’s fame brought video games, fan art, fan fictions, and memes. An example of a video game that had many walkthroughs posted on YouTube simply titled, “Jeff the Killer.” Another game that became popular about Jeff was called “Illusion: Ghost Killer.” Although these games may have not had the best ratings and positive reviews, as Illusion had only a rating of 6.3/10 and had more cons than pros, these games still rose to popularity due to them being centered around Jeff the Killer.

Lots of fan art surrounding Jeff comes from a website called DeviantArt. Memes about Jeff have also come along with this. Over the years, artists and fans have developed their own style and personality of Jeff. But why change what the original character was supposed to be?

This is because fans have their own interpretations of Jeff. Some fans view the heartless killer as a cartoon with a soft spot for certain thing, as if he has emotions or can experience love. Fans have their own perception of how they would like to see Jeff; therefore, with little information on him other than the Creepypasta story, the fans have wiggle room to make his persona as they wish.

Either way, Jeff has been a signature icon for horror and particularly Creepypasta. Whether his art style is gruesome or cartoonish, whether he has no heart or can feel emotion, Jeff has become well known and loved by many horror fans. With so many mysteries surrounding Jeff, there is plenty of room for artists and fans to use their imagination to create their version of Jeff. The fans are what is truly keeping the legend of Jeff the Killer alive.

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