One of my most favourite Spy cosmetics, the Scarecrow, came out during the 2012 Halloween update. It turns the Spy’s head into a voodoo doll head.
What I love about this is just how unsettling this looks. The button eyes with some of the stuffing poking out from the back of the buttons, the stitches across the mouth, the seams and patches on the Spy’s head (or rather, his balaclava), it just gives that uncanny valley vibe to the Spy. And it also reminds me of Coraline. Must be the eyes.
To be honest, I’m not entirely sure at first if this should be classified as body horror, since it involves a lot of stitches in where stitches shouldn’t be at, or under the creepy doll trope, since from the stuffing poking out it’s supposed to mean that the Spy is now an oversized walking talking murdering voodoo doll. But after remembering all the times I played Spy with this on when my limbs get blown off, blood spilling onto the walls and having my blood splattered on my nice clean suit, I concluded that the Spy is still a fleshy man-shaped meatbag. So yes, body horror it is.
According to the workshop page, the Scarecrow is made such that it actually flexes with the Spy’s expressions, so I quickly hopped into a game to test it. After a few rounds of testing, I remembered that almost (maybe all) of the facial cosmetics, like some of the beard cosmetics and the Bacteria Blocker, does not flex with the mercs’ facial expressions when viewed in third person while taunting. Just to be sure, I went to check on SFM. The cosmetic does have the sliders for facial expressions, which means that they were made rigged to the Spy’s facial expressions. However, a quick test shows that they’re not enabled, since the sliders do absolutely nothing.
Come on Valve, the model makers put in the extra effort to make sure this works. Least you can do is to enable it.
When it comes to making cosmetic loadouts with the Scarecrow, there is a rather interesting thing to note. While it is a fairly visible cosmetic up close with a strong horror theme to it, it also doesn’t clip with most cosmetics. What I did is I made a themed cosmetic set with two cosmetics, and use the Scarecrow in the last slot to make it a horror-themed cosmetic set. Basically, I turned every possible Spy look into a scary voodoo doll version of it. And the best part is, since the Scarecrow is not Halloween-restricted, I can wear this every damn day if I want to.
The fact that it is barely noticeable from afar works in favour of its horror theme too. You’ll see a normal, posh-looking Spy on your team in a corner of your spawn room. Since he’s just AFK’ing in a corner and not responding in chat, you decide to walk over to him to take a look. As you get close, you’ll suddenly notice that something’s not right. Before you can react, the Spy looks up and stares into your eyes, and that’s when you see the black buttons and stitches disfiguring the Spy’s handsome looks as he reaches out for your throat.
This is probably one of the best horror-themed cosmetics ever made. For a game as vibrant and cheerful as Team Fortress 2, I am pretty surprised that the Scarecrow can still be somewhat unsettling.
… damn, now what am I going to write for Halloween?