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8 Apr 2013

G is for... Ghost

You can give me all the gore in the world.  The back from the dead serial killer with a mask.  But there is something in horror that will scare the crap out of me every time. 


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.


2) Sinister

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?


  1. Okay, Robin... you're already bored of me saying "I'm not a Stephen King fan, but..." Well, here's another mantra of mine for you to get tired of hearing: I believe most (if not all) fear is, at its root, a fear of the unknown. You've alluded to this already in your discussion of ghosts above. And I think that's why, for many, the scariest horrors are those they can't predict, and they can't define. For example: the killer disease is a scary thing, until a scientist examines it and makes an antidote. The giant killer bug is scary until someone realizes it's just a big bug and it can be eliminated with just the right kind of pesticide. But what is a ghost? A spirit of the dead. How can you kill what's already dead? And what is it capable of doing? When you can't bottle it, cure it, or run it through with a sword, it takes on a whole new level of fright. :)

    What scares me in horror? I really don't know! Sure, a good horror movie will make me jump, and have me glued to find out how (or *if*) the character will get out alive and maybe destroy the threat. But to really scare me? I'm not sure. When I was a child, I might have gone to bed with my head under the covers after a horror movie. But I don't recall having many nightmares or sleepless nights as a result.

    I'll have to think about that one. :)

    1. Haha but you are drawn to a little bit of horror. ;) I think we all are, even people who aren't necessarily a fan. We're drawn to something that makes us face our fears.

      Killer diseases is another fear. It's just so out of our control. There's a possibility for an antidote but it'll take quite a bit of the population down with it.

  2. Haha, another g is for ghost, just like me. Awesome choice. I love the WOman in Black. Great movie, great book.

    Happy A through Z posting!

    1. Loved both too. :) Perfect amount of tension and jumpy moments without going OTT on gore and violence.

  3. The only time I remember being truly scared watching a movie is "It". I do have to qualify that by saying I don't watch scary movies for a reason. LOL

    Tales of a Pee Dee Mama

    1. Haha, It was terrifying. I can only get through it by reminding myself that underneath that costume is Dr Frank N Furter. Still a terrifying image but that character gave me the giggles so it helps. ^^

  4. I am pretty terrified of ghosts too. That and horror stories. Stephen King's The Shining scared the hell out of me.