Are Fandoms Toxic?

by Georgia Kirkendall

One passion that I will never understand is an unending love for horror movies. I’m that friend who gets roped into seeing the newest and bloodiest Scream film because their bestie is a die-hard for a combo of suspense and gore. Personally, if you give me the choice I’d be more than content with anything between Harry Potter and a drama based on a Jane Austen novel. Who needs the reminder that there are millions of ways to get stabbed with a knife or that the human body holds over a gallon of blood? I’m getting woozy just thinking about it. 

Movies, however, are a personal choice and as the saying goes to each their own. If my BFF is willing to struggle through a movie marathon filled with noseless villains and British accents, then I can buck up for a two hour thriller. Overall, the new Scream movie wasn’t the scariest I’ve seen, as the franchise takes on more of a comedic edge than most other horrors. Still, I had my hands covering my face for the majority of the film. What was interesting about this movie, though, was the motive of the eventually revealed killers. (FYI, spoilers ahead). There were the usual two murderers behind the ghostface mask, one obviously being the boyfriend of the main character. Unlike in the previous films, the motive of these two were not revenge, but rather dedication. They were part of “Stab” movies fandom, a fake, in-universe, replication based off of past killings in the movies. The killers were dismayed by the newer “Stab” creations, and went on a murder spree killing the relatives from the original murders. The new murderers hoped to redeem the movies to their original glory. Unsurprisingly, they failed, meeting equally disturbing deaths. 

The reasoning behind these murders was impressive, and had me wondering how impactful fandoms really are, and in what way? It is true that the majority of fandoms are harmless, and even offer a place of community. Although, it’s important to be cautious when investing yourself in any subculture. Some groups, especially online bases, can easily fall into a place of negativity. Large fandoms become toxic, with online comments that are hateful or question your legitimacy and knowledge of the topic. Rather than being a space to discuss and celebrate a shared interest, rude behavior abounds and abuse is flung across the media. If you ever find yourself in that kind of environment, get yourself out. It’s important to remember that fandoms are meant to be positive and inclusive. If you’re afraid you’ll accidentally end up in a slasher film and are unsure where to look, may I offer some advice? You can never go wrong with Harry Potter.