Out all of the horror monsters out there ghosts terrify me. More than clowns and ventriloquist dummies. One reason why I'm writing about them at the moment. I know what will scare me and I can use my fear and transfer it easily into my characters.
There's something unknown about ghosts. Most of the time you can't see them and you're waiting for them to strike. Walking around in that unlit house, wondering if the creaking upstairs is just an old floorboard or some restless spirit making its presence known. Ghosts can appear and disappear like that. You can't touch them. But they can touch you. And see you.
It takes a lot for a horror film to scare me. I'm a pretty harsh critic. But here's a few films that really got me hiding behind a cushion. Or two. Here's the list and my reasons why:
1) Grave Encounters
It's a low budget found footage film and didn't get great reviews but I loved it. And it scared me. Actually inspired my current WiP that's mainly set in a haunted former psychiatric hospital. The terror of the disturbed spirits creeps up from moving wheelchairs and slamming doors to full on apparitions that chase you down the maze of corridors. I loved the photographs that TV presenter/producer Lance Preston in the film, moving from hardly anything being there to ghostly hands at windows. And the building itself was the most terrifying, becoming a prison where all exits completely disappeared.
The supernatural villain barely makes an appearance so the tension is quite high as you wait for the next scare. Add in some creepy ghost children who wander around the house unseen and you've got me behind the sofa. You never know what's happening in the film, guessing theories and figuring the cases out until it's too late. Especially for the main character. Quite a few jumpy parts as well.
3) The Woman in Black
Took a few liberties, changing aspects of the novel but what never changed was the tension and eerie atmosphere. Hardly showing herself the infamous Woman in Black lurked in the abandoned Eel Marsh House. Her spirits clinging onto the bedroom of her dead son. It's the scenes where Arthur Kipps is drawn to the strange thumping noises behind the closed door that increase as he gets nearer and the viewers are left to their imaginations: what will he see? who's making the noise?
All three create that terror of the unknown. What's going to happen next? When will it happen next? You're left like the poor suffering characters of that unbearable waiting, over analysing each sound in the house, thinking there's more to that shadow in the corner of your eye. Feeling like with every step you take, someone or something is taking a step closer to you. Unseen eyes watching you.
What scares you more in horror than anything else?