What qualities make a monster or villain scary?

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While the heart of every horror flick is often the fear of death, it’s usually the devilish monsters and villains that play on our emotions and compel the scary story along. That being said, although some of the paralyzing effects of these beings are easily achieved through modern physiological tricks, such as illusions, image manipulation, and suspenseful music, the real danger are the qualities manifested within the characters, making them unbearable and intriguing. 

What are people afraid of?

One of the most important elements of a successful horror movie franchise or stand-alone film rests with the director’s ability to ignite fear within the audience. After all, the ultimate eerie traits that make up a movie monster or villain are bound to be connected to some of our pathological phobias.

After a brief Google search, here are a few common fears that are prevalent within our society:

  1. Arachnophobia: Fear of spiders
  2. Trypophobia: Fear of holes
  3. Pteromerhanophobia: Fear of flying
  4. Agoraphobia: Fear of the inability to escape 
  5. Claustrophobia: Fear of enclosed spaces
  6. Acrophobia: Fear of heights
  7. Emetophobia: Fear of vomit or vomiting
  8. Mysophobia: Fear of germs
  9. Astraphobia: Fear of thunder and lightning
  10. Taphophobia: Fear of being buried alive

Whether the above list highlights some of your deepest fears or others are lying within your subconscious, the way you react to horror movie monsters and villains reveals a lot about your character. 

What other characteristics make the ultimate supernatural beings?

While there’s a good chance that someone who enjoys watching horror films has one or more of the above fears, to create a sense of progression and escalation of danger, your horror movie monster or villain should also have some of the following characteristics.

  • Unpredictability: Since predictability is the enemy of horror, it’s important to have a monster or villain that enhances the potential to instill fear. As humans, we tend to have a pretty good sense of body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice, but monsters don’t always necessarily give off human signals which makes it a good quality to harness if you’re hoping to keep your audience on the edge of their seats. 
  • Disturbing capacity for violence: While it’s a given that monsters and villains want to hurt you, what makes them scary is their gory capacity for violence. Why spill a mere drip of blood when there could be a violent blood bath?  
  • Imagination heightens fear: Seeing is believing and when the audience is shown the horror movie monster or villain, they can decide there on the spot if the being gets their hearts pumping. However, if they physically hear them or simply learn about them, sometimes this imaginative association can be scarier in our minds. 

Did the above horror blog topic make your skin crawl? Let us know if there is a quality of a horror movie monster or villain that we missed in the comments section below. 

One thought on “What qualities make a monster or villain scary?”

  1. Don Davies says:

    I really love Predators and Aliens when it comes to the horror genre! I already pretty much have a good collection! Even comics! It’s just how they were really conceptualized! They’re really well made villains and the jump scare they give in the movies is really awesome!

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