Castle Rock, Hulu’s new Stephen King homage, poses some truly thought-provoking, at times terrifying, questions. Buried beneath easter eggs, dim lighting, and theme music that belongs on Wes Craven’s personal playlist, the show wrestles with philosophical debates about the battle of good vs. evil, nature vs. nurture, whether a person’s future is defined by their past, and so on. But as someone who’s been dragged into binge-watching this show solely by peer pressure and the promise that a bit of booze will keep the nightmares away, I just have one query, a puzzle so profound, so complicated, so intrinsic to the fate of humanity that only the internet can answer it: Why is Bill Skarsgard such a damn snack?
Oh, you thought you were coming here for an elevated cultural discussion on the legacy of King’s work, or the understated performance of Andre Holland as Henry Deaver? Sweet summer children, we have more important things to talk about. Things like the physical impossibility of Skarsgard's pert bum and just what kind of sorcery the Skarsgard clan practices for them to churn out tree-like chunks of Grade A beefcake. All for scientific reasons, of course.
Still with us? Let’s dig in.
It’s not because this blindingly beautiful Swedish skyscraper doesn’t fit into the typical Hollywood mold of hotness with his lemur-like eyes and cheekbones so razor-sharp they could cut glass. No, I could drown in those Steve Buscemi peepers and nest in the perfect hollow of those smooth, creamy cheeks until the end of time. But for some reason, Skarsgard likes to torment his soul by choosing roles that are dark, dangerous, and slightly disturbed. His entire resume is basically nightmare fuel, which means that good, law-abiding moviegoers everywhere must now ask themselves questions no decent human being should ever be forced to contemplate, like “Is Pennywise the Clown hot?” or “Is the physical embodiment of the Devil an appropriate person to have visceral sex dreams about?”
I’ve sacrificed my own sanity for this, crawling through the dark, endless hole that is Pennywise fanfiction and scouring Tumblr for explanations as to why “The Kid” on Castle Rock can, in fact, get it. I’ve come out on the other side a more psychologically damaged individual. My eyes have read fic that no amount of brain-bleach could wash away, my soul has withered, and I’ve come to the startling conclusion that horror makes people horny AF and any attraction one exhibits toward a murderous clown or the Devil himself can and should be blamed on the person portraying those characters. In other words, damn you Bill Skarsgard for making us all question our acceptable level of kink. We lay this at your feet.
Sure, we could delve into the science of it all, how scary situations increase levels of dopamine in the brain, how a safe environment – like watching Skarsgard’s character lure young children into the drains of his demon lair from a crowded, comfortable movie theater – ensures those dopamine levels skyrocket, and how the chemicals the body releases when a person is terrified are eerily similar to the body’s reaction to sex and physical intimacy, but for f*ck’s sake, we’re not animals. Your lady parts may quiver when Skarsgard gives us a full view of his luscious derriere on Castle Rock, your mouth may water a bit every time he bites into a slab of Wonder Bread, but we’ve got brains too, people. We should not want to throw it all away for a malnourished bug-eyed son of Satan type and yet, here we are.
Of course, “Hot Satan” is not everyone’s cup of tea. The character, who’s being set up as the Big Bad of Castle Rock this season, seems to strew chaos and discontent wherever he roams. He can transfer a fatal illness just through touch, cause a well-adjusted young man to go on a shooting spree with an innocent fist bump, doesn’t age, rarely speaks, and has never been taught proper social cues, particularly when it comes to prolonged eye contact. In general, there’s this feeling that The Kid is content to bask in the glow of the hellfire he’s raining down on the small town. Those are usually turn-offs for most people, and if you’re still scratching your head over this whole hotness debate, congratulations, you’re totally normal. For the rest of us, no logical reasoning, no amount of inner turmoil can change the fact that Skarsgard, whether he’s playing a psychotic dancing clown or the manifestation of all evil, is like catnip to the ovaries.
The characters he plays are perfectly happy to terrorize, antagonize, and destroy everything good in the world. They dwell in sewers or live in cages underneath maximum-security prisons. They’d be happy to bathe in pools of your blood or eat children for dinner, and we’re thirstier for it. It’s not pretty. It may cause you to doubt everything you know to be true in this world, but there it is. Pennywise IS hot, folks. The Devil is real and he’s a five-course meal in need of a restraining order. There’s no justification for it, besides the fact that Skarsgard is hot, therefore the characters he plays must also be hot, and that touch of danger just ups the hotness of it all. The bad boy trope on steroids, if you will.
Better to just accept it, take whatever enjoyment you can from it, and know that you’re not alone in your very specific, twisted kink.
And Bill Skarsgard, shame on you. Shame on you for all of this.