Any good Whovian can rattle off a list of newly acquired fears after watching “Doctor Who.” Snowmen, shadows, fat, plungers, and many more depending on the viewers’ propensity to scare. For me, a fear of statues is the most constant and pervasive.
First introduced in the episode “Blink”, Weeping Angels are energy hungry, predatory creatures, who have been around since the beginning of the universe. On an initial examination they don’t seem all that bad. So they touch you and send you back in time. At least you’re still alive. You can meet new people, make a new life for yourself, and maybe that life could be better than the one you were currently living. At least you aren’t dead. I think the fright is less what they do and more the how.
You’re walking through a fancy garden. You notice an interesting statue. After walking past it, you feel the hair on the back of your neck raise. When you turn around the statue has moved. It has moved closer to you. Thinking you are just imagining things you turn around. You turn around again and now the statue is closer, much closer. Its eyes are vacant, mouth relaxed, serine, and its arm is outstretched. It is trying to touch you.
You know now that you can’t turn your back on the statue again.You back away. Then you complete a bodily function, one that cannot be helped, you blink. The last thing you see is a demonic face, fangs bared, claws sharp, and you feel a cold stone touch.
What makes The Weeping Angels particularly terrifying is that something you could walk past, barely take notice of, something that seems so benign, could be your undoing. They are quick as lightning. They are remorseless, and no matter how hard you try to keep your eyes on them, unblinking, it is almost impossible. If there is more than one angel around, you better start planning out your life as a 1920s bootlegger.
In the “Doctor Who” episodes, “The Time Angels/Flesh and Stone”, writer Steven Moffat introduced the Angels’ ability to physically murder people as well as the ability to possess a person, and turn him/her into an angel if said person happened to look an Angel in the eye. Many Whovians were not thrilled with the Angels’ expanded malevolence. They were quite vocal. Many felt that sending people back in time was danger enough and gave the Angels a greater uniqueness than being just another cold blooded physical killer. In the episode “The Angels Take Manhattan”, the Angels were back to only consuming energy via time paradox creation, but the idea that not just angel statues, but all statues could potentially be Weeping Angels, was introduced. By far the most menacing of the new statues were the cherubs. If The Shining has taught us anything, it is that little kids are creepy. Add pint sized stone infants that giggle maniacally as they prey upon you, and it’s pure terror.
Every time I watch a Weeping Angels episode, it renews my statue anxiety. I take extra notice of works of stone. I worry that they are planning to feast on my energy. I make sure not to turn my back on them, and of course, I open my eyes as wide as I can, willing myself not to blink.