Tip #1652: What Makes a Horror Film Scary?

… for Random Weirdness

Tip #1652: What Makes a Horror Film Scary?

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

The “uncanny valley” – where something is almost human, but not quite.

Image courtesy: René Asmussen, Pexels.com

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This article, written by Alyssa Miller, first appeared in NoFilmSchool.com. This is a summary.

Horror films have become predictable. There is a formula created to get a reaction out of the audience, and we are addicted to that rush of adrenaline.

However, the more you watch, the more you know when to prepare for the jumpscare. Then, directors like Ari Aster and Robert Eggers come in and change the horror genre ever so slightly by creating that uneasy feeling throughout the film through the strange and unnatural.

But how do they do this? The author calls it: “the uncanny valley” — the point in which something is almost human but not quite.

Scenes filled with uncertainty are becoming the power force behind the horror genre now. Sure, there is nostalgia in a good ol’ slasher film, but this new wave of horror is creating a new nightmare that leaves a lasting impression in the viewer’s mind. It’s why we come back to films like Midsommar, Get Out, and The Lighthouse. Even if they are not perfect films, horror fans appreciate the lasting dread and grief that the camera, sound, and visual representation of fear within the film’s world.


The author goes into more detail – and provides video examples – analyzing why the Japanese film, Kairo, is so terrifying.

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