What Makes a Horror Movie Truly Scary?

Horror movies have been around for over a century, but what makes a horror movie truly scary? Is it the jump scares, the suspense, or the gore? In this article, we’ll explore the elements that make up a truly terrifying horror movie.

The Power of Fear

Fear is a powerful emotion that can be both exhilarating and terrifying. Horror movies tap into this emotion and take viewers on a rollercoaster ride of emotions. The best horror movies are those that can create fear in the audience without relying solely on cheap jump scares or gore.

The Unknown

One of the key elements of horror is the fear of the unknown. Humans are wired to fear what we don’t understand, and horror movies play on this fear.

The unseen is often more frightening than what we can see. A good horror movie will use suggestion and implication to create tension and fear in the audience.

The Setting

The setting of a horror movie can also play a significant role in creating fear. Abandoned buildings, dark forests, and isolated cabins all have an eerie feeling that can make viewers feel uneasy. The setting can also be used to create a sense of claustrophobia or isolation.

The Soundtrack

The soundtrack of a horror movie is crucial in creating tension and fear. Music and sound effects can be used to build suspense and create an unsettling atmosphere. Silence can also be used effectively to create tension before a jump scare or reveal.

The Villain

The villain or monster in a horror movie is often what creates the most fear for viewers. A well-designed villain can be both terrifying and unforgettable. The best villains are those that tap into our primal fears such as death, darkness, or unknown creatures.


In conclusion, there are many elements that make up a truly scary horror movie. The fear of the unknown, the setting, the soundtrack, and the villain all play a significant role in creating tension and fear in the audience. A good horror movie will use these elements effectively to create a spine-chilling experience for viewers.