I ask this, because many years ago, when I was far less experienced as a writer, I managed to write a scene that really terrified someone, unintentionally too. The scene itself was the protagonist beating someone to death. In that case, I was trying to emulate the scene from, "Sin City," where the Bruce Willis character beats someone's head into the floor. Keep in mind, I don't my reader, at the time, was the most easy to scare ever. Additionally, again, this was during my early, kind of embarrassingly bad writing phase. Despite this, a scene full of rage came off as really terrifying to someone. I haven't written a scene like it since, and I've unfortunately long lost the original text, but I remember it now as something that perplexes me. See, usually, the more we know about someone, the less scared we are of them. And who could the reader know more about than the character they're viewing the story through? Especially in first person, when the very person's thoughts are available for the reader to view, as that was how I wrote the sample. However, clearly this isn't always the case. American Psycho, for example, did this with the main character, and I'm there are many many other examples I don't know of. (Although, to my knowledge, there isn't a book that does with a character that is supposed to be a hero, albeit perhaps a heavy anti-hero.) The thing is though… what allows it work? Is it because we're trapped in the driver seat as someone does something horrifying to another human being? Could it be the character projects enough emotional force to impact the reader in that way? The latter I bring up because the scene I had did boil with rage, however that isn't an emotion I usually associate with scary scenes, especially not when the emotion belongs to the viewpoint character. Help with this please? This is a puzzle for me, and without the original text, or at least that I can access right now, this is hard to figure out. Perhaps suggested readings to help me get this element from other books that take the approach of a scary, potentially anyway, viewpoint character?