First thing that I need to know is what scares us, what makes us jump out of our skin and get’s our heart racing, this is what is used in films to scare the audience.
I have done some primary research on how people react when there watching a scary movie . Me and my friends went to watch Conjuring 2 (a true story where a demon possess a child and starts playing with the family) in the dark with surround sound on. I took it upon myself to look at their facial expressions and their reactions when something happened.
What I noticed:
When ambient noise was being played i could see on there worried faces that they were tense and that their ready for something to happen, however nothing did happen; the use of ambient noise was scaring them and was building up tension.
I found that a lot of things being dropped or slammed like a door would scare people easily as it goes all quite and the sound of a door slamming would make them jump which gets the heart racing.
The best reaction that i got was when the demon runs toward the camera and my mates jumped and screamed when this happened as it was so built up with tension and happened so quickly.
Things that will scare an audience:
1. Fear of Death. This is the ultimate fear, both existentially and psychologically. It isn’t really a horror movie if people don’t get killed.(Psychologytodaycom, 2017)
2. The Dark. From our earliest childhood we are afraid of the dark – not the dark itself, but what it hides. It makes horror movies even scarier to watch them in a darkened theater, or a dark living room, right?(Psychologytodaycom, 2017)
3. Creepy, Crawly Things. Snakes, spiders, rats, and other crawling things are scary in and of themselves, but when they touch the skin, in the dark, it amplifies this common phobia.(Psychologytodaycom, 2017)
4. Scary Places. Horror movies are full of scary places – graveyards, old houses, overgrown forests, dungeons, attics, basements. These are dark places, where evil things can hide.(Psychologytodaycom, 2017)
5. Disfigurement. Many horror movies feature grotesquely disfigured antagonists (think Frankenstein’s monster, the Phantom of the Opera, zombies). Studies in early development have found that young infants will react with fear to asymmetrical or disordered faces.(Psychologytodaycom, 2017)
6. Dismemberment. Fear of dismemberment involves loss of a part of the self. The popularity (and horror) of the Saw movies involves self-dismemberment as the only way to escape death.(Psychologytodaycom, 2017)
7. Suspense (Anticipation and Expectations). The best horror movies are full of suspense (think Alfred Hitchcock). Suspense involves creating anticipation that something bad will happen, but not knowing when it will occur. Some of the most shocking horror movie scenes, create anticipation, but then violate the audiences’ expectations (e.g., the hero gets killed; the killer is the one the audience least expects, etc.).(Psychologytodaycom, 2017)
8. Spooky Music. Music can create moods and elicit emotions. The music used in horror movies can be creepy, and can be used to accentuate the actions seen on the screen. Music intensifies feelings of suspense and shock.(Psychologytodaycom, 2017)
9. Lightning and Thunder. Many people are afraid of lightning and thunder – sudden flashes of light, that can kill, and a sudden and deafening sound that accompanies the lightening. Flashing lights and loud noises create a startle response and they are a mainstay of the horror film.(Psychologytodaycom, 2017)
10. Fear of the Unusual. We know that young children are often afraid of things that are different or unusual (such as a disfigured face), and highly unusual-looking things are often sources of fear. But a common theme in horror movies is to take something that is normally not scary (e.g., a doll, a child, a clown) and make it into a feared object. In other words, making the usual, unusual. This may explain the growing number of people who confess to a fear of clowns and dolls.(Psychologytodaycom, 2017)
2017. Psychologytodaycom. [Online]. [24 April 2017]. Available from: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/cutting-edge-leadership/201410/the-top-ten-things-make-horror-movies-scary
2017. YouTube. [Online]. [24 April 2017]. Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lKfiJcUDi0g
2017. YouTube. [Online]. [24 April 2017]. Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JJmWYGR3XY0