Tuesday, April 16, 2024

The reaction to The Trickster from Dead by Daylight is the perfect example of why he is so terrifying

Dead by Daylight surprised us all when they revealed The Trickster, a K-Pop star by day, and serial killer by night. The official Twitter account had been, of course, teasing that the new killer and survivor would be both from Korea and they had some connection to the music industry, but still! We don’t think anyone would have expected the horror franchise to steer into K-Pop territory.

Frankly, I love it. Dead by Daylight have always been pretty creative when it comes to their original survivors and killers, and it seems they’ve gone the extra mile with The Trickster – going as far as collaborating with music producers within the K-Pop scene. It’s clear that the developers have put in a lot of hard work and love in making their original killers stand out, even amongst horror legends like Michael Myers and Leatherface.

However, some find The Trickster to be a confusing addition. Part of it is because a K-Pop star offends the sensibilities of some people online who can’t bear the thought of it touching horror in any way, but I also feel it’s because of The Trickster’s very design. He is, after all, an attractive, young man – fitting the demographic of most K-Pop groups out there – who oozes sex appeal by way of his looks and his fashion. If you don’t believe me, just check out the overwhelming amount of thirsty fans since the new killer’s reveal. And sure, while there are some legends among us who were fiercely attracted to some Killers before (shoutout to both Pyramid Head fans, the shirtless Myers initiative, and those who just want The Huntress to clobber them over the head), The Trickster was specifically designed to be attractive.

Attraction, for the most part, often means letting your guard down. You inherently trust them to a certain extent, because of the fantasy of wanting to be truly seen by them. They make you feel superior because your desire for them is reflected in how much time they spend on you, and it’s this feeling that, ultimately, drives so many of The Trickster’s victims into his trap. He fakes being obtainable, uses himself as a lure, and then uses his victims as playtoys for his music. To put it bluntly – he is an egotistical maniac that uses his appearance to lure people in. It’s in everything he does, the wink he gives you when you’re waiting for a match in the lobby, the small laugh he does when he hooks a survivor, the way he slicks back his hair as he chases you… He wants to attract you. And attraction, historically, can lead to deadly results.

It’s why The Trickster’s design is perhaps strange to some players, especially in comparison to the rest of the Dead by Daylight killers. While we do have mostly humanoid killers, most either wear masks or are completely disfigured in a way that doesn’t fit the hegemonic standard of what is and isn’t attractive. The fact is, The Trickster is terrifying because he feels powerful enough – even before he stepped into The Fog – to let his face go on show because he fits in alongside the status quo.

The Trickster is terrifying in a way that’s unique to him alone. He isn’t the Boogie-Man, a cannibal, a group of masked delinquents. In the world of the Entity he looks just like your average survivor, someone you wouldn’t look at twice outside of admiring his appearance, and in his own world? A celebrity that’s untouchable by the common folk, protected by the world of glitz and glamour. All in all, a very real threat that makes him one of the scariest, but compelling additions to Dead by Daylight.

Aimee Hart

[She/They] Aimee Hart specializes in queer fandom, video games and tabletop, having started her career writing for numerous websites like The Verge, Polygon, Input Magazine and more. Her goal now is to boost LGBTQ+ voices in the video games industry.