The internet horror legend sees an incredible reinvention after more than a decade of strain

A spooky sculpture in a desolate room.

The SCP Foundation—the local, collaborative, creepypasta-adjacent writing project that largely inspired Third person shooter 2019 Control— recently removed the image associated with its first and most popular entry, prompting artists to reimagine the monster at the center of one of the internet’s favorite horror stories.

The wiki that hosts the SCP Foundation is essentially a shared universe about a secretive group of scientists that protects the world from all manner of groovy ghouls. When, for example, farmers are killed by a misanthropic reptile “hard to destroy” or a coffee machine is discovered which can dispense any material, no matter how strange or abstract, in liquid formthe responsibility of securing the anomaly, containing it, and protecting the world from its influence (hence the acronym SCP) rests with the personnel of the foundation.

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The Volgun (Youtube)

the very first SCP entry was posted on 4chan’s “/x/ – Paranormal” board in June 2007. It described a murderous creature – which, much like the weeping angels from Doctor Who, can move instantly, but only when not looked at, with the same scientific, rote diction that would become the SCP Foundation’s signature style. SCP-173, as the monster was known, eventually inspired 4chan users to write their own entries, and in 2008 the SCP Foundation was officially born.

Although not particularly well-written by today’s standards, the creepypasta SCP-173 managed to sink its claws into the people of 4chan largely thanks to its accompanying image of a humanoid sculpture. haunting. This statue, a fascinating work by Japanese artist Izumi Kato known as “Untitled 2004“, gave SCP-173 his identity, and was naturally uploaded to the SCP Foundation wiki upon his creation. Upon discovering this use of his art, Kato was less than thrilled, but allowed the SCP Foundation to keep the photo as long as it is not used for commercial purposes.

Earlier this month, however, the folks maintaining the SCP Foundation dropped a bombshell, announcing the imminent removal of the iconic image of SCP-173.

“Kato’s work was designed with its own meaning and artistic vision in mind, which was forcefully hijacked by SCP-173,” the SCP Foundation explained. via Twitter feed. “While we cannot fully repair the damage caused, we have a moral and legal obligation to at least try to separate SCP from Kato’s work. Kato did not demand that we remove the art. However, we consider it necessary, in the spirit of [Creative Commons], open collaboration and artistic integrity to remove the image. We are very grateful to Kato for supporting the wiki and the burden we put on it.

The SCP Foundation has also indicated that, in accordance with the wishes of the original author of SCP-173, it does not plan to replace the image with anything new as has been done in the past for similar situations. Instead, the website opened the door for artists to reimagine its construction “in concrete and rebar with traces of Krylon-brand spray paint” themselves, leaving SCP-173 with no real looking hot since its inception nearly 15 years ago. Thankfully, the work produced so far is pretty fantastic.

Take this rendition from Volgun, who runs a YouTube channel dedicated to the SCP Foundation’s creepy critters. His vision of SCP-173 is more alien, with unreadable alien doodles surrounding the ominous hole in his “face”. Volgun even created a short animation to show how the creature would explore the limits of its confinement.

“The feeling that the original photograph of SCP-173 gave me about 11 years ago was ‘what is it and why is it there? I’m unstable but curious.'” Volgun said. Kotaku by email. “So that was a feeling that I wanted to try to replicate while being as far removed from Mr. Kato’s design as possible.”

David Romero, an Austin, TX-based horror illustrator, also tried giving SCP-173 a new look, resulting in this incredibly effective POV vignette of the creature jerking towards you during you blink your eyes. Oh, and did I mention it’s a spider now? Because SCP-173 is a spider now. You have been warned.

However, my favorite of the artwork I’ve seen comes from Trevor Henderson, who you might know as the creator of the internet phenomenon. siren head. I love Henderson’s perspective on SCP-173, this barely humanoid thing held together by tentacle-like rebars, and the almost shamanic eyes painted on its body are a nice touch as well.

“I just wanted to take the initial sculpt used for SCP-173 and break it down into a more surreal form, while emphasizing the rebar,” Henderson said. Kotaku by email. “I also figured something you had to watch to save your life should return the favor, hence all the spray-painted eyeballs everywhere.”

“For me, it was important to retain the odd proportions and stature of the original entrance, as well as the highlights of the bright red spray paint that was part of the face,” Henderson added. “Other than that, I just tried to make them feel like the original creature while dodging the kinds of shapes that were the original art project.”

SCP-173 was many people’s entry into online horror, and its appearance on 4chan ushered in a new era of collaborative creation. In many ways, the odd sculpture of Izumi Kato has been the SCP Foundation through the formation of the massive repository base, and it is strange to see SCP-173’s page now devoid of its photograph. That said, removing the link between SCP-173 and Kato’s artwork also freed it from previous constraints, allowing artists more space to experiment with its aesthetic. And this aspect of the whole situation has not gone unnoticed.

“It was amazing to see so many people interpreting the SCP-173 article and designing their own versions of it,” said a representative from the SCP Foundation. Kotaku by email. “It definitely taps into the collaborative and expansive spirit of the SCP Foundation and was a complete pleasure to watch. There is so much amazing artwork that we don’t even know if we can say we have any favorites . »

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