It’s hard to know what this urban legend has to do with contemporary society. Possibly some people enjoy this kind of imagery because it’s a safe outlet for things they discern, consciously or unconsciously about themselves, their families, and society. In other words, a safe representation of dark, shadow aspects.
Along these lines, toward the end of his career Sigmund Freud outlined two main forces acting in the psyche – Eros and Thanatos.¹ The one is about creation, the other destruction. This theme of creation and destruction also runs throughout world religions, literature, music and the arts.
¹ See “Death Drive” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_drive