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How Are Horror Movies So Scary?

Photo by Elti Meshau on Unsplash

Last updated on July 26, 2022

Imagine being in a movie theater and looking at a screen. You hear your own heart beating when you see a dark farm in front of you. There’s an eerie sound – and BAM! This is the horror movie experience.

Horror movies are watched by millions of people each year and translated into many different languages, yet, they still give the same scare to their audiences. So, what makes a horror movie so scary?

First, horror movies are scary due to filmmakers prioritizing elements of mystery and suspense. This heightens the terror and shock when an event occurs.

Furthermore, horror films take into account the audience’s fear of death and the unusual. The “unusual” includes clowns, dolls, and scarily unfamiliar objects.

The audience’s fear is especially worsened when they relate to the character, because, according to James Kendrik at Baylor University, the director has control over the audience’s emotions as they connect with the protagonist.

Finally, horror entertainment triggers a flight response, which is a reaction of the brain processing its surroundings and concluding if an experience is a threat. If a viewer is watching a horror movie, they analyze the surroundings and the brain provides adrenaline.

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