1. Killer300
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    Killer300 Active Member

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    What Makes a Building Scary?

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by Killer300, Dec 27, 2011.

    What makes a building scary to people? What causes people to be terrified of the structures themselves? I'm musing over this, as I've thought of making a horror story that heavily involves an abandoned tenement that haunts a 16 year old boy. Thoughts?
     
  2. Cacian
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    Cacian Banned

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    The way it is built.
    Sky Scrappers are scary to look at because of the height they project.
    It makes me think of the Twin Towers and 9/11.
    Lots of people suffer from the fear of height.
    You can emphasize on this.
     
  3. Protar
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    Protar Active Member

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    Buildings that a physically impossible are scary if that's the kind of story you are writing. Put in subtle little things that slowly suggest that something is wrong.

    @Cacian I just have to say I've never been scared of skyscrapers or known anyone to be scared of them.
     
  4. Killer300
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    Killer300 Active Member

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    Well, I'm trying to make an abandoned tenement seem threatening. Not sure how to go about it, to say the least.
     
  5. Cacian
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    Cacian Banned

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    sure.
    ever seen one those window cleaners hanging off them whilst trying to clean the windows?
    It makes me feel sick just imagining what they must going through.
    I mean just a scafodling makes me feel sorry for those who have to climb up it.
    Perspective does play on my mind when it comes to height and what it could do to the mind.
    I also find high building/high blocks of flats daunting and 'scary' because of what it might happen.
    I have seen fire being lit in high blocks of flats. To think of how quick one can get out of say 100th ontime is quite daunting and scary.
    I had a relative who threw herself out(committed suicide) as she climbed up the 20th floor to put an end to herself.
    I dread to think that she could have made had she had lived in a house.
    Itis all about timing and yes heights are evil.
     
  6. Makeshift
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    Makeshift Active Member

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    I'm afraid of skyscrapers. Well, not skyscrapers specifically, but it has to do with my fear of heights. I sometimes get dizzy when looking at things that are way up there, skyscrapers and sometimes birds, aeroplanes and clouds. Of course that works in your story only if it your main character is afraid of heights. I have no idea what your story is like, but I would imagine a house would be scary, if some things were simply wrong in it. For example, someone is living in the house, but when the main character visits, it looks like no one has actually been living there for a long time. Old food rotting in the fridge, no running water, no electricity, oven that looks no one has cooked anything for a while etc. I don't know if you're seen the movie The Game, but there's a scene somewhat similar to this, where the MC figures out the apartment is all a sham and no one really lives there.
     
  7. JimmyNic
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    JimmyNic New Member

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    What might be inside.
     
  8. Yvaine
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    Yvaine New Member

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    Old buildings scare me. I don't like the old badly maintained bathrooms in schools. I hated using them when I attended night school a few years ago. I don't like a dim light that flickers and hums and I feel like I am being watched. Yet, when I turn around there is nothing there.
     
  9. Killer300
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    Killer300 Active Member

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    Hmm, interesting. Thanks guys, this is giving me ideas.
     
  10. Yuri Strike
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    Yuri Strike Member

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    Rusty, dark rooms with no windows will make people feel insecured instinctively.
     
  11. Fullmetal Xeno
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    Fullmetal Xeno Protector of Literature Contributor

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    Misty mansions with gargoyle statues... and a rainy enviorment. That's a truly gruesome way to make something scary.
     
  12. need to write
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    need to write Member

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    look at the first resident evil game there are alot of pointless puzzles but the genral feel of the mantion and the way you look at it make it scary another good game for seanary is haunting ground just the genral feel of the places may give you some insperation on how to describe your characters enviroment.
     
  13. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    The first Resident Evil game did have a good atmosphere ... at the beginning. And the Remake pushed it too much into the Gothic that it was hard to take seriously after a while.

    As soon as you leave the Mansion in RE1 everything good about the game disappears, leaving only dodgy translation, a really terrible story, and PS1 graphics. And no. Stop. RE1 had a terrible story. Go back and play it if you want to check, but it's awful.

    Don't do this. Gothic architecture is a cliche of the horror genre, and one that's really over done. As something of a horror fan I'd feel insulted. The best horror is one based in very familiar places. So unless you live in a misty mansions, live in a place where thunder is commonplace, and frequent ruined churches and large castles with laboratories and coffins as decoration don't do it.
     
  14. Cacian
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    Cacian Banned

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    again is it about the state of the buildings or is it about looks?
     
  15. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    the writer!... even the most ordinary buildings can be made to terrify characters [and readers!], depending on how the writer sets up the story and whatever is meant to be 'scary' to the character... the building itself doesn't have to have a 'scary' appearance at all...
     
  16. Cacian
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    Cacian Banned

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    I sometimes look at a buliding without it being 'ugly/old/tatty/insignificant' and I can imagine the horrors that can surround a certain build because I can read danger.
    I can imagine what might happen in terms of safety or danger by looking at 100storey buliding because of the way it stands.
     
  17. Fullmetal Xeno
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    Fullmetal Xeno Protector of Literature Contributor

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    Sorry for some reason i had Batman on the brain when i posted that. Maybe a old run-down shack with disappearing color?
     
  18. spklvr
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    The basement in the school I go to used to be a bomb shelter, and I think those hallways are so creepy. The echo makes every little sound you make sound like they belong in some horror movie and the lighting is very dim, and the buzzing the lights make is also creppy. I have a very vivid imagination though, so even if I don't actually believe in any of it myself I keep imagining how there are ghosts killed in the ww2 there (I don't think anyone died there though).
     
  19. Killer300
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    Killer300 Active Member

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    Do you think a run down tenement would be? Those places are quite familiar, and actually for this character he has a special relationship with them.

    Also, would perhaps the twisting of a place of security, like a police station, into a place of terror make it better?
     
  20. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    ^ Honestly. Yes. Because they are familiar. Good modern horror tends to be that which finds something scary in the usual. Gothic horror is dead, has been since H.P. Lovecraft really. Consider something like House of Leaves, say, or Misery by Stephen King, or the video games Condemned and Silent Hill 2.
     
  21. Killer300
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    Killer300 Active Member

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    Hmm. Okay, a run down tenement it is. Interesting, from the looks of things, I have a pretty good idea for this if going by what you've said. Thanks.
     
  22. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    The Haunting of Hill House
    is excellent. It is by Shirley Jackson. If you haven't read that one, check it out. It was a finalist for the National Book Award, which is rare if not unheard of for something in the genre. It does take place primarily in a mansion :)
     
  23. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    ^ It is good, but that was published over 50 years ago. The oldest thing I mentioned was Misery, which was published in 1987. Gothic horror, and the stables of it still haven't gone away, but we are now in a new era of horror. A much more psychological movement is going on right now.
     
  24. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I'm scared of stained, sterile-looking tiled bathrooms with dripping and rusted pipes and dodgey locks, usually because they're also located in remote places where it's often dark and no one goes there, meaning no one can hear you scream. Places like that often smell of human excretion which naturally, disgusts me and add on the fact that I have a slight paranoia about being locked in the bathroom, the combination terrifies me a little. I often don't even go in, or if I really need to, get out as fast as I can.
     
  25. Shifty
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    Shifty Member

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    I live in my head with my characters most of the
    The Classic Cliche's work well. Gothic architecture, stormy skies, creaking floorboards, long dark halls, long barely illuminated halls, Ghostly foggy graveyard in the garden, Hidden passages, trap doors, circular staircases, creepy British Butler.

    Adams Family anyone?
     

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