What are the most frightening elements that make a great horror movie?

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One of the best components of so many well-loved horror movies is their alarming ability to play into our inner-most fears by using familiar phobias, devilish elements such as jump-scares and chilling tunes as well as lots of blood, gore, and suspenseful periods that contribute to the overall built-up tension. Horror fans like yourself adore the rush you get from watching horror flicks and appreciate every minute that leads up to those moments of terror. So, since your brain operates out of pure instinct and love for the genre, you’ll enjoy reading this creep-tastic number to uncover why scary films delight your inner darkness — likely just as much as the grim horror movies action figures we sell. 

Fear of death

The idea of death is a haunting fear for many living beings. In fact, Thanatophobia is a word that can be used to describe this problematic woe, which embodies the fear of death or the fear of the dying process. While it’s natural for someone to worry about their health and mortality as they age, feelings of anxiety, distress, and dread begin to pile up the closer the older you get. So, for those who’re overwhelmed with the idea of death being just around the corner, horror movies provide the perfect pairing to trigger minor panic attacks, dizziness, sweating, and heart palpitations. Don’t those symptoms sound like the extremities you crave when watching your favorite flick? After all, is it really a horror movie if people don’t get killed…or at least come close? 

Fear of the dark

Nyctophobia is a fear that’s deeply rooted in our childhoods and is often triggered because of a lack of visual stimuli. While some people fear nightfall, others simply fear the shadowy darkness that capes their surroundings, disallowing them to see the scope of their environments. So, whether you’re scared of the dark itself, or what lurks within it, there’s a reason that the scariest horror movies of all time are best enjoyed in a darkened theatre or from under a blanket in your living room. 

Fear of creepy crawlies 

Creatures like snakes, rats, spiders, and other crawling things can be scary to look at, but it’s likely when they touch the skin, especially in the dark, where the fear becomes amplified. Entomophobia, or the fear of insects, causes many people to experience cold sweats or have their body hair stand on edge when they cross paths with creepy crawlies. This phobia is even believed to stems from our indifferences, or because we aren’t accustomed to such creatures — extra legs, a long tail, and even additional eyes. That being said, can you think of a famous horror film that uses this fear to their advantage? We can name a couple, including Aliens and Gremlins.  

Fear of scary places

Now, this type of fear is something that’s taught rather than instinctual, which means that depending on your culture, world views, and religion, it’s open to several varied interpretations. Typically places such as graveyards, old houses, overgrown forests, dungeons, attics, and basements exhibit a hint of eeriness, especially since these dark locations are the perfect places for evil things to hide and manifest. A few of our favorite films about scary places including The Amityville Horror, Stephen King’s IT, and the entire Friday the 13th franchise. We love these adaptations so much that we even carry many horror movie action figures and their thrilling accessories to allow fans to reenact some of the most spooktacular moments in the comforts of their own homes. 

Fear of disfigurement or dismemberment 

Whether you relish a film that features a killer grotesquely disfiguring his victims (Leatherface in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre) or you prefer to see frightened characters dismember themselves as a way to escape death (any of the films from the Saw franchise), evidently many of the best horror movies tap into this fearful suspense, creating anticipation during some of the most shockingly violent scenes… paired with spooky music and spine-tingling camera angles, of course. 

Are there any other elements or fears that contribute to the essence of your favorite horror films? Drop a comment below to share with our readers. 

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