What Makes a Horror Movie So Scary?

What Makes a Horror Movie So Scary

What is the scariest horror movie you have ever watched? I don’t have one movie that scares the bejesus out of me; I have a whole list of them. From “Exorcist” to Steven King’s very recent “It”, every good horror movie has given me sleepless nights. It doesn’t matter really whether it’s a demon possessing a little boy or a maniacal clown abducting children, all the best horror flicks have a few common elements that sets your adrenaline flowing and your pulse racing.

Bring Your Nightmares Along

Do you know that there are nightmares already living inside you? You have populated your psyche with nightmares from stories you have heard in your childhood. Or maybe it’s a cultural construct like the Bogeyman. Or there is the fear of clowns or the fear of demons. Or maybe just your fear of the dark! All are nightmares already living inside you. The good horror movies, plainly tap into your fears and make you live your nightmares. You are a puppet of your fears, in the grip of a good horror movie.

We Have You Anticipating!

Haven’t you noticed the construct of the good horror movies? They build up the suspense, makes the climatic conditions ready for the next best scare. But even before the scare comes, your pulse is racing. That’s because you were made to anticipate for the metaphorical sword to fall; for the clown to appear or the demon to surface. This is basic physiology 101. When you anticipate danger, adrenaline is released into your blood and your heart rate shoots through the roof. Flight or fight! Gets you worked up pretty good!

Do You Like the Ambience?

I don’t! This is a no brainer. Set the ambience in the dingiest of places like a dark attic or a scary graveyard, the darkest of hours and the creepiest of music, each in itself capable of putting you on the edge. The best horror movies also have the best background score that captures the tempo of the scenes to perfection. Your subconscious will respond to these cues pretty nicely. It is hardwired to respond to these surroundings and sounds even without your realizing it! Horror movies tap into your subconscious to pull you into the atmosphere that the movie maker creates. They are setting you up for the next big scare and till then flood your system with an overdose of adrenaline.

What Is It that Stands Before Me?

The worst fear known to man – the fear of death! We are all hardwired for survival. None of us will willfully walk towards death, unless under extraordinary circumstances. So what would set you more on the edge than the fear of death itself? The best horror movies, always plays with your head and makes you fight death alongside the characters in the movie. Then what should set you up for a better scare than when the Scythe wielding Grimm Reaper suddenly stands before you? That’s why anyone would say, what’s a horror movie without some death?

Horror to Scare

The best horror movies have a healthy mix of psychology sprinkled with good direction, to make you sit on the edge! And it sure as hell, works.