1. Antaus

    Antaus Active Member

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    Horror Stories

    Discussion in 'Research' started by Antaus, Jan 21, 2017.

    I've decided to branch out and try writing my first horror story, however I've contemplated something in this regard and would like some opinions. What is scarier, the monster you see, or the one you don't see.
     
  2. Spencer1990

    Spencer1990 Contributor Contributor

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    That's a really vague question, and I'm positive the answer differs from person to person. It also depends a lot on execution and premise of the story.

    We might need more details to better help you with this.
     
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  3. Lifeline

    Lifeline North of South. Staff Contributor

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    Nothing is scarier than what takes shape in your mind, before you see and it takes physical form. When it is reality, you can deal with it. You can't hide or defend against your own mind :)
     
  4. Antaus

    Antaus Active Member

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    Well, the story itself is still in the development phase, but I'm about to try to write chapter one to see how it turns out. I don't want to give too much away about the story, but it involves the protagonist being stalked by a supernatural entity, one that controls shadows and darkness.
     
  5. ShannonH

    ShannonH Member Supporter

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    Talk about being stalked by someone/something reminds me of the one passage that always gives me chills when reading it.

    "Shuffle Foot had not stopped with us this time. His trousers swished softly and steadily. Then they stopped. He was running, running towards us with no child's steps."
     
  6. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll It's Coffee O'clock everywhere. Contributor

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    How do you know I can't see you working on some story right now? Keys tapping away in a sporadic rhythm.
    Toiling away trying to get it in order. A few spelling errors that have been left un-attended. The way you periodically
    stare at the screen with a bit of doubt to your ability to get the story sorted, and to your liking. Oh, and that 'the the'
    just there is really bugging me. :p
     
  7. Dnaiel

    Dnaiel Senior Member

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    I think the scariest is the one that's always been there right under your nose all along.
     
  8. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin Get off my Balzac... Staff Contributor

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    People.
     
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  9. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll It's Coffee O'clock everywhere. Contributor

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    Agreed. Unpredictable lot they are. :supergrin:
     
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  10. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin Get off my Balzac... Staff Contributor

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    The next monster or mythical creature I read about that scares me will be the first. Aside from Alien. I'm still having nightmares about those.
     
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  11. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll It's Coffee O'clock everywhere. Contributor

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    @Homer Potvin not sure which is worse the Xenomorphs or the Facehuggers.
     
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  12. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin Get off my Balzac... Staff Contributor

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    Xenomorphs for sure... I actually saw Aliens first, where the face huggers weren't as prevalent... My dad let me watch it... I was 10... my mom still busts his balls for letting me watch it... I'm almost 40 now, lol...
     
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  13. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Aunt? Supporter Contributor

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    Ah yes, fear of one's own mustache...
    [​IMG]
     
  14. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin Get off my Balzac... Staff Contributor

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    Zappa, nice! He's a great writer. One of the best.
     
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  15. exweedfarmer

    exweedfarmer Banned Contributor

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    I vote for the one you don't see. The scariest movie I ever saw was, "The Legend of Hell House." 1973 and you never saw the baddy until he was dead at the end.
     
  16. handsinthegarden

    handsinthegarden Member

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    Personally...one of the things that really gets under my skin and makes it crawl is when the feared creature is something you cannot see at first, and yet slowly you become aware of it's presence, and it makes itself closer and closer. A similar (albeit terrible) example of this is It Follows. Knowing it's there, knowing it's coming for you, but being unable to prove it. It scares you. You don't know if it's real or if you're losing your mind. You can't afford to make a guess and be incorrect.
     
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  17. Simpson17866

    Simpson17866 Contributor Contributor

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    Welcome to the site!
    Either one can be done well:

    Surprise – the reader initially doesn't know something, but the characters might (or might not)

    Suspense – the reader knows something that the characters initially don't

    Jaws is a fantastic example of a monster that you don't see, but Silence of the Lambs is an equally fantastic example of a pair of monsters that you do.
     
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  18. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man or BayView

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    The vast majority of the fiction I read is horror.

    The one you don't see, for sure. Partly because I don't think I've ever read a description of a monster that scared me, but mostly because the sensation of being stalked by something whose mentality and capabilities we can't even imagine is terrifying. As soon as you tell me it's a six foot blob with seventeen tentacles and shark's teeth... I'm rolling my eyes rather than quaking in my boots.
     
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  19. newjerseyrunner

    newjerseyrunner Contributor Contributor

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    To me, it's the ones you don't see: the demons in your own mind, solitude. The scariest monsters are the ones that appear whenever they want, and disappear just as easily. Simpson17866 already mentioned my favorite book Jaws. The shark was largely missing from both the book and the movie, and that was precisely why it was such a captivating story. This scene in particular was one of the scariest.


    In silence of the lambs, I agree that while both monsters were visible, the much more terrifying monster was less visible than the other. Bill was the lesser monster because you could see what he was doing, by the end of the book you feel like you at least understand the insanity in his mind and the limits of his psychosis. Lector is still mysterious, you've seen what he's capable of, but have no indication that that's all he's capable of. In my opinion, the less information you give about the monster, the scarier it is.

    In books though, the horror tends to come from the character's minds, as opposed to the situation itself.

    Monsters hiding in non-threatening things is also pretty awful. Chucky is a good example and Pennywise the Dancing Clown gave me nightmares when I was a kid. Only from the movies though, I read It and enjoyed it, but it didn't have the same horror factor as some of his other works.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2017
  20. Rosacrvx

    Rosacrvx Contributor Contributor

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    Avid horror reader here.

    I find that the monster you see (Aliens, movie) can be as scary as the monster you don't see (Bram Stoker's 'Dracula'). It's all about the effect you want to cause on the reader.
    But in my humble opinion it's not that relevant whether the monster is seen or unseen. What's relevant is whether it could happen to you and/or you feel the character's anguish as if it were your own. A very good example of this is The Exorcist. Do we ever see the Devil? No. Do we see the Devil's effects? Yes. Are the effects scary? Yes. Can it happen to you? Well, if an innocent child can be possessed, are you more innocent than a child that you would be spared? ;)
     
  21. pensmightierthanthesword

    pensmightierthanthesword Member

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    Ambiguous horror has always scared me. I've read several of Shirley Jackson's stories and she could write a comedy or drama and instantly make it foreboding. The story she is most known for is The Lottery but I personally like The Daemon Lover. Something about the last few lines of that particular story gave me chills. The Twilight Zone is another good show. I've heard they have a lot of O. Henry moments in The Twilight Zone meaning they love twist endings but I've honestly never read anything by O. Henry. I've read some Stephen King as well. Watching the classics of horror may help such as A Nightmare on Elm Street, Carnival of Souls, Alien, The Thing, and so on. The Monkey's Paw by W.W Jacob is a good story. If you want a real mind-freak though read An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge by Ambrose Bierce. Not really a horror story but a mind-freak none the less.
     
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  22. pensmightierthanthesword

    pensmightierthanthesword Member

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    H.P Lovecraft is someone you should check out as well. A lot of horror writers and directors borrow from Lovecraft. I read his stories Dagon and The Unnamable. Both very good. I'm on The Beyond right now.
     

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