What Scares You?

Somehow, whenever October rolls around, I feel a definite shift in people’s attitudes. I think a lot of it has to do with Halloween coming at the end of the month. I also think the time change at the beginning of November has people thinking of the darker evenings. For some, it brings SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), and for others, the shorter days can prove a great motivator to flee for warmer climes.

The Exorcist
The Exorcist

However, for today’s Monday Mayhem, I’d like to concentrate on one thing: Horror movies.

For some, Horror movies can be a sensitive subject. Depending on the story, the film can act as a portal for demon possession. Don’t ask me where I read that. I just did. I can’t blame anyone for thinking that. If you’ve seen The Exorcist, you would think there is more to that film than the simple possession of a little girl on screen. I saw it when I was ten years old. I couldn’t sleep for a week. Years later I read somewhere that two main characters connected with the film died unexpectedly shortly either before or after the premier. Reports surfaced that during the film’s run, certain members in the audience passed out in the aisles while watching the film. Stationed outside movie theaters were ambulances waiting for more and more victims. A few of the cast members once said they believed the set was haunted.

The Sixth Sense had a similar effect on audiences, but in a different way. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve watched that movie. I would consider the flick a perfect case study for writers who want to learn about plot, pacing, character development and escalating action. The film also sports an ending that few, if any, could have guessed. I know I didn’t have a clue.

The Sixth Sense
The Sixth Sense

I consider The Sixth Sense a Horror movie, but not in the way that others might consider it Horror. The escalating images of dead people with its eerie musical cues and scenes written in the Hitchcock style, makes this film more than an ordinary Horror film. It’s scary, not because of what you see, but because of what you don’t see.

The whole Horror genre nowadays has changed. More and more filmmakers attempt to outdo each other with graphic scenes of gore that would even make a serial killer take notice. As the audience desensitizes to yesterday’s splatter count, they also want more. Gone are the days when a filmmaker could get away with not showing the murder. In fact, if I may be so bold in saying, today crime films can fit into a category all on its own for being a cross between the Detective and Horror genres. Throw in a couple of demon possessions and there you’d have the perfect genre.

Nevertheless, knowing all this, I have a question for everyone—and I’m genuinely curious about your thoughts about this subject.

What scares you?

What I mean is, what really scares you?

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What scares you?

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23 thoughts on “What Scares You?

  1. For me, it’s bugs and oddly the smaller, the creepier. I can handle one ant. I can handle one roach. More than one roach? Get the raid. More than one ant? Run for your lives!

  2. I don’t have many day to day fears and horror films only “scare me” when they decide to use hat I like to call cattle-prod horror and making the audience constantly jump.

    The idea of things affects me more. The idea of being locked in prison scares me more than anything and is my only real “fear.” As for all the supernatural, demons sort of stuff, I have no belief in anything like that so my rationale sort of “protects” me.

  3. Jack, what scares me is the unnatural stuff. Things that just couldn’t happen — shouldn’t happen — but that are happening right in front of my eyes on the screen. The Ring, Paranormal Activity, Nightmare on Elm Street, Bloody Mary… THESE are my nightmare fuel. LOL

  4. I have two frights that come to mind. First: The fear of losing the people closest to me. This crossed my mind recently and you actually commented on it too. I think the thought of being separated from the love of my life without a way to contact or reach each other is terrifying. I could deal with gore and fictional horrors, but I’d need the people I love by my side. Second: Mental incapacity. I think losing the ability to distinguish illusion/dreams from reality is scary. Those situations where you want to just wake up or escape and when you “finally do” sometime later you realize you never actually woke up and you appear to be stuck in a false reality.

  5. That’s a broad question. As far as horror films, the last one I really felt scared by was The Ring. As far as fear in general…needles and medical procedures are most likely to induce an irrational panic in me. And in the dream world? Being chased by something. Then there are the big, existential fears…failure…bad circumstances…

    There is a lot out there to be afraid of.

  6. Deja vu freaks me out. Two people on either side of the Atlantic writing a blog post called ‘What Scares You?’ and both using the same promo image from The Exorcist. I think quantum physicists call that entanglement.

    Ghosts in the family home; the spooky image of a long dead relative in the background gets me every time. Home should be our sanctuary, not the source of supernatural activity.

    • ” Ghosts in the family home “. I have NEVER had an encounter with a ghost or any non flesh – & – blood being or entity. Not once. Most people who report eerie moaning & creaking sounds can usually chalk it up to settlement – If the house is old. I even did a blog post about hauntings & paranormal phenomena. I’m on the fence.

      • I’ve never had an encounter either, but I’m old enough to consider who or what I’ll be haunting when I’m gone. Can’t decide whether to haunt a lonely countryside spot or be one of those malevolent spooks that terrifies people on television.

      • If ** I ** become a ghost, I’m going to be rude, loud, go through people’s liquor cabinets & beer coolers just because, rummage through the snacks & act, well, like an unwanted guest. But not malevolent. A flatulent ghost ? 🙂

    • Deja vu freaks me out, too. I had forgotten you had written a similar post! Credit to you, Chris!

      And I’m in total agreement. Home should not be a place for ghosts. As you said, it should be a sanctuary. I’ve known families where supernatural activity has followed them for years from house to house causing members to suffer from psychological damage. The sad thing is they’ve allowed it to happen–but that’s another story for another day!

  7. Mirrors and water. I can take nearly anything else, but those two things almost always inspire panic attacks, whether encountered in real life or in fictional mediums; there’s precisely one mirror in my house, and that’s only allowed because the girlfriend would die without it, but I refuse to go near it or look at it. If water goes above my waist or touches my face? I’m about ready to black out and run screaming.
    Both are stupid and (mostly) irrational. And I know that. Doesn’t change them. Drop them in a movie and I will be twitchy and tense the whole time (which is why What Lies Beneath and Mirrors despite being somewhat sub-par, both freak me out, bigtime.)

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