A History of Horror
Fantastical Worlds, Eerie and Alive
To confront this crisis, Link must collect and master a series of masks that allow him to transform his shape. Each transformation that Link uses over the course of the game are the materialized sorrow of dead spirits of a Deku Scrub, Goron, and Zora, and each transformation is presented in horrifying, unskippable detail when Link first adorns each mask. Nintendo smartly does not let its grip up, and we’re forced to see the entire transformation sequence. Why? A Nintendo rep once explained via the Miiverse that “the boundless sorrow surrounding each mask comes rushing inside the wearer when they put it on.” The developers wanted players to know that each time we transform, we are communing with the dead. If it wasn’t a traumatic process, it just wouldn’t ring true.While I might be down on Twilight Princess as a whole, it does feature one of the most chilling tableaus I’ve encountered in the series. During a seemingly normal recollection of the creation myth of Hyrule, Link, and more specifically, the viewer, are assaulted by a white-eyed doppelganger of Link’s childhood friend, Ilia, again like something straight out of Twin Peaks. Worse still, Link soon succumbs to this force and himself appears as a grinning, white-eyed doppelganger, hellbent on using his (and by extension, the player’s) growing powers to plunge the world into chaos.
Implicating the player and comparing our pursuit of power to Ganon’s is not a new idea, but since Zelda utilizes it so sparingly, it feels novel and scary in its own right.