Shop Forum More Submit  Join Login

The Monster in The Mirror

Thu Oct 17, 2013, 6:09 PM

A Pop Culture Interpretation of The Supernatural

Every culture around the world created gods and other mythical beings by mixing and matching fanged and taloned animal parts—e.g., enormous eagle heads on lions’ bodies—human beings have always seemed to need to believe there are powerful and usually quite vengeful supernatural beings lurking just beyond the candlelight.

Supernatural beings come to serve several purposes:

  • They kept people on the lighted path of truth and goodness, fearful of exploring beyond;
  • They were a reminder of the punishment we deserved for our sins;
  • They were a way of analyzing primal drives and their consequences by creating stories about the gods.

Above all, the monsters we created, gods and devils, were reflections of everything evil or destructive we feared might be hidden deeply within ourselves.

Since the beginning of the Twentieth Century, films have been our collective monster factory, reflecting a rough idea of our deepest fears at any given time—fears exposed on film for necessary cathartic ritual showings. A brief survey of the monsters of our last century tells us a lot about what our civilization was thinking about each night when the lights went out.

The first supernatural content in silent movies tended to fixate on witchcraft. But it was Dracula and Frankenstein in 1931 that rescued Universal Studios from the Great Depression and redefined “the monster movie” forever. Horror icons Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi would establish the vampire and the reanimated dead as the templates for monster creation. The Universal monsters of the 1930s and 1940s reflected the Depression and World War II.

It seemed a golden future made possible through science had somehow gone horribly wrong and thrown us back further than when we started out. Science could be dangerous. And perhaps the mysticism of religion shouldn’t be abandoned so cavalierly.

The nuclear cloud of the atomic bombing of Japan hung over most the monster movies of the 1950s. The vampires, werewolves and mummies of the decades before could be fought and defeated with an American purity of heart and re-established trust in higher powers, but the imminent worldwide nuclear holocaust caused a new monster to be born from the irradiated waters of Japan.

We can thank the bomb for




and the many other enormous city-crushing Japanese monsters.

Dracula and Frankenstein faded away.

Universal only managed to launch one new bona fide “monster”:

The Creature From the Black Lagoon

He was Godzilla Light. In Hollywood, Roger Corman produced low-budget irradiated critters flicks like Attack of the Crab Monsters (1957). The studios followed the Japanese, unleashing the following menaces all super-sized by radiation leaks: Ants, Leeches, Wasps, a Tarantula, a Mantis, a Scorpion, Shrews, Spiders and a Blob.

Nuclear war and radiation were what was on our minds in the 1950s, and our gigantic monsters reflected the overwhelming immensity of the fear.

The violence and upheaval of the 1960s climaxing in Vietnam brought the British Hammer Studios monster movies into vogue featuring massive infusions of nudity, bloody violence and random cruelty. The Hammer Dracula and Frankenstein monsters completely lacked any subtlety.

The 80s gave us the Reagan era tough love reaction against youthful sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll culture perceived to have run amok. The President had three Dark Knights to lead the charge against fun:

Jason, Michael & Freddy

These three new monsters from, respectively, Friday the 13th, Halloween and Nightmare on Elm Street, and a plague of their sequels worked the formula of exploiting stories of unsupervised stoned teens getting it on to rake in ticket sales—while at the same time driving home the Reagan-tough point of the morality tale by having one of the three knights slaughter the offending sex and drug-partaking kids in his own ultra-violent signature fashion. The new monster was an immortal force of nature—actually, two:  the ravenous male testosterone-driven libido and its complement, a psychotic religious guilt over each eruption of that libido.

Jason, Michael and Freddy can never die because the teen sex and guilt conundrum can never die.  It is the forever formula for human and box office regeneration.

In the late 1980s and 1990s, the Soviet Union and its satellite socialist states collapsed. While the Three Knights continued their slaughter of wasted youth domestically, a second track was opened in the American psyche, in monster terms. The USA had lost its grand Other. With no Soviet Union, who was our main enemy seeking to invade? With no military force on Earth strong enough to scare Americans awake at night, thoughts migrated to Outer Space. And two new monster prototypes vied for the title of Other.

Pop sociologists are now struggling with the outer space derivation of the Alien-Alien, Predator-Alien (not to mention the inundation of zombie hordes and space-based aliens rising out of the Pacific) What do they represent in our mass subconscious:

  • A longing for an outside nemesis that all humanity worldwide can unite in fighting, or;

  • Are they stand-ins for each countries' definition of the ‘Other’?


Creatures & Monsters

From the Collective Subconscious of deviantART

There was the



There was the Giger-designed




For the Reader

Do you prefer your scary movies to feature individual bad guys like vampires, or mass assault forces like zombie outbreaks?

Which horror film storyline do you believe has the most truth to it. What makes possession so much more believable than say ghostly hauntings going bump in the night?

Is it the monster or the story that holds you pinned to the edge of your seat?

Do the psychological underpinnings of why we respond to certain subconscious primal fears as well as to new fears just beneath the surface of our consciousness interest you? Or is a scary movie just a scary movie?

What was the first monster movie that really terrified you?

Every culture around the world created gods and other mythical beings by mixing and matching fanged and taloned animal parts—e.g., enormous eagle heads on lions’ bodies—human beings have always seemed to need to believe there are powerful and usually quite vengeful supernatural beings lurking just beyond the candlelight.

Writers: $techgnotic
Designers: $marioluevanos   
Add a Comment:
Pandakitty2000 Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Niiiiice,absolutely love this!The title makes me think (understandably) of the song 'Devil In The Mirror' by Black Veil Brides.
WindySilver Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
1. Foremostly I prefer neither, but if I had to choose, I'd choose incidual bad guy.
2. Ghosts are so old stuff, I think.
3. Both, I think.
4. I really don't know.
5. I don't remember... :/
TimeAlchemistofNight Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2015  Student Traditional Artist
1) Individual bad guys. It has more drama and paranoia, giving it a better plot. The zombie armies are scary, but it's also predictable so the fear doesn't hit home as much.

2) Things that go bump in the night can easily be written off as a part of one's own paranoia over something small or harmless (especially if you live in a house that creaks at night). Someone getting possessed is scarier- you have no control, and by the time you realize it it's usually too late.

3) The monster. I can't really deal with horror movies to be honest (Go ahead, call me a chicken. I don't give a damn if you do). Even if I don't know the story well or have only watched the trailer, the monster always stick in your head. (Think about how many people have at least heard of Freddy Kruger, Jason or Chucky and haven't even seen any of the movies?)

4)The psychological aspect is interesting and can be something people relate to. I just wish I could be brave enough to get past the monsters.

5)The movie "Chucky". The one about the killer doll or ventriloquist dummy that some kid gets at a carnival. My dad would let me watch TV to put me to sleep when I was little, and one night the TV could only get this one station and it was playing the movie. Being a little kid, I didn't know what horror movies were. I don't remember most of it, but I remember screaming my head off to the point where my dad had to come in and turn the TV off. I'm now in high school and it still gives me nightmares.
dewmanna Featured By Owner Jun 30, 2014   Digital Artist
Thanks so much for featuring my work!! :hug:
jedion357 Featured By Owner May 21, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Monster story with the most truth: Frankenstein- its a metaphor for humanity making its own monsters that we ourselves are the problem.

First monster movie ever watched: Frankenstein in black and white, I wonder if there is a connection between this and the previous answer?
PonyCoupleMaker Featured By Owner May 9, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I feel where missing something... :iconpennywisetheclown:
MikaelaH1 Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I LUV VAMPIRES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Audball08 Featured By Owner Feb 26, 2014  Student Interface Designer

1. Do you prefer your scary movies to feature individual bad guys like vampires, or mass assault forces like zombie outbreaks?

I prefer individual bad guys. Although, the many different portrayals of zombies that we have nowadays can be very interesting. Even zombies have variety.

2. Which horror film storyline do you believe has the most truth to it. What makes possession so much more believable than say ghostly hauntings going bump in the night?

Everybody says Paranormal Activity was lame.....but for those of use who have had similar experiences, it doesn't scare us much either. For me it's that fact that I know these things really happen. I don't know anybody else that's been tossed around a room by something they can't see, came home to open cabinets every day, or woke up with bruises and bites they somehow acquired through their dreams. These are my experiences.

3. Is it the monster or the story that holds you pinned to the edge of your seat?

Actually it depends on the monster and the story for me. What make the monster unique? What keeps the storyline good? Or sometimes the monster creates the storyline.

4. Do the psychological underpinnings of why we respond to certain subconscious primal fears as well as to new fears just beneath the surface of our consciousness interest you? Or is a scary movie just a scary movie?

Somewhat. I usually like to watch them mostly for entertainment. However, the reason why we respond the way we do usually depends one the person and their experiences.

5. What was the first monster movie that really terrified you?

To be honest...I don't remember monsters really having much of an effect on me. They simply make my curios about their background stories.

ReporterMilesUpshur Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2014  Professional Photographer
Well, heh, if you've read my Username and/or heard of the game "Outlast", then you'll know what some of my fears are.  *shudders*
EMDlRE Featured By Owner Dec 21, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
1. What do I do if none of those scare me?
PoisonParodies Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2013  Student General Artist
1. I like vampires but one of my favorite comedies/horror films was Zombieland.
2. Possession is more believable because of our religious-inspired fears. & I think one of the ones that has the most truth to it is the one inspired by our own potential psychotic break. xD We're all fearful of possibly going over the edge, or wonder what would possibly inspire one to turn from citizen to ax murderer.
3. It's the combination. Most story lines are so riddled with plot holes that the monster has to be what keeps me around. Also, I look at "Boo!"-scary versus "Creepy"-scary. Does it frighten me for a moment or am I up at night thinking of what could possibly be causing those shadows in the corner of my room to move?
4. It interests me to a degree. I watch scary movies because, as my friends say, I am a bit of an adrenaline junkie. I want to be scared multiple times and have to convince myself that it is, actually, JUST a movie.
5. Jurassic Park was the first, Jaws the second I believe. The most recent one I've become obsessed with was Sinister, and also the Conjuring as well. They're creepy-scary, to me, and scare me just about every time I see them.
ThaddeusDaruszka Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
Well done! And thanks for featuring my "Curse of Frankenstein" piece!!!:D (Big Grin) 
mittens18 Featured By Owner Nov 3, 2013
Very well done! I personally find the psychological underpinnings, as you put it, to be one of the only reasons to watch horror movies! 
AdoptsFromMe Featured By Owner Nov 2, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I can answer the last question. Nightmare Dancer
I-am-a-mindles-drone Featured By Owner Nov 2, 2013   General Artist
I don't know about the others, but I can answer the last question. the first monster that really scared me was the werewolf, but now it's zombies. the idea that just one infected person can spread it effortlessly to so many others, all over the world, is terrifying.
AdoptsFromMe Featured By Owner Nov 2, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I showed my 7 yr old sister the Nightmare Dancer an
she wasnt scared. Then I asked if she would
be scared if she woke up in the middle of the night to see
Nightmare Dancer in her face. She said a little
galaxycaptain Featured By Owner Nov 2, 2013
The last few pictures scared the poop out of meh! D:
AdoptsFromMe Featured By Owner Nov 2, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
what ones? Nightmare Dancer was the
scarriest one in my oppinion
galaxycaptain Featured By Owner Nov 2, 2013
:shrug: many, I kinda get scared easily ^^;
AdoptsFromMe Featured By Owner Nov 2, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
ime too
AnimeLover282 Featured By Owner Nov 1, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
*looking at poll* So... Most of the people  are gonna be scared of me.. Hehehe... yay.
MarcGo26 Featured By Owner Nov 1, 2013  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
1. Well first of all,it depends. 
2.True-to-life horror films. :|
   Possessions are more believable because it really happens in real life.
   And most true-to-life movies I watched are mostly possessions. o_O
3.Story of course
4.Scary movie is always scary movie most of the time,but sometimes they get interesting.
5.I don't remember though. And most movie I scared before I was young is now not scary today. :|
eiidolon Featured By Owner Nov 1, 2013  Student Filmographer
1 -depends
2- believable and close to home makes me afraid
3 - both
4- psychological stuff messes with me
5 - silent hill the first movie gave me nightmares for weeks
AdamDarkLordJones Featured By Owner Nov 1, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
amextris Featured By Owner Nov 1, 2013  Student General Artist
1)I like horror movies either way, whether it be because of a horde of zombies or just one villain.
2)I don't think many have 'truth to it'? They're all fairly exaggerated, from what I've seen. Possessions are more realistic because instead of computer generated effects and special tricks, you can have an actor be possessed and have a good chance of if being believable. Though recently, actors have been getting worse and actors have been getting better.
3)The story about the monster.
4)The psychological factor of it all, and why things are scary, is very interesting, but I don't want to sit and analyze a creature while I'm watching the movie. That takes away from the movie, and is better left for another occasion.
5)Even though I've been watching movies about aliens since I was like five, the first movie that scared me was the old version of The Blob when I was about nine. I could not unsee the people dissolving in pink goo and the fact that unless you had something to freeze it with, you were defenseless. The setting was really realistic too, since it started in the woods near a city.
Ryliemuffins Featured By Owner Nov 1, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
1) it just depends on the moive 
2) ghost hauntings are really something I'm normal with, but if you non-ghost-believers want me to say something more believable well I can't but I can say something that IS believable to me just not more: Insane killers
3) it depends on the story  
4) it just depends on the movie
5) I don't remember 
LostTotheHoping Featured By Owner Nov 1, 2013  Professional Writer
1) This one kind of depends for me.  I've been on a zombie kick lately, and I very much enjoy them all.  However, I also adore a good solo-villain movie like Dracula, Van Helsing or Halloween.  I guess in the end it just depends on what I'm in the mood for.
2) Actually, I believe in all sorts of supernatural things, though I must admit that most of them are probably not real in the least.  Hauntings, possessions and werecreatures, however, are definitely on my list of things I think could be real.  I don't think possessions are more real than hauntings, though.  In fact, a lot of the time, what people view as a "possession" is really just either someone acting out for attention, or pure insanity.  Not to say this is the case ALL the time, but most of it.
3) Also depends on the monster and the story.  Sometimes I watch/read things just for the monster (like my zombie stuff mentioned in my answer to question one), and other times I really do enjoy the story.  Just this evening, I was watching Paranormal Activity with friends, and the story itself, not the monster, had me literally holding my breath at points.  It was very entertaining.  xD
4) I have to admit that I don't pay much attention to psychology, unless I need to know something for my writing.  Usually, a scary movie is indeed just a scary movie for me.
5) The first monster movie I ever watched was the first that really scared me.  It was a ghost story called the Haunting, and I was maybe 10 years old at the time, watching with my cousins.  I couldn't sleep most of the night afterwards!  But I've loved horror movies ever since.

Thank you so much for the entertaining article!  You guys really outdid yourselves this Halloween.  Good luck for the rest of your efforts!
Kethrook Featured By Owner Nov 1, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
1) Individual bad guys, but not so much vampires.
2) I find the serial killer ones the most believable. Just a normal human gone psychotic, because things like that really can and do happen, which makes it all the more terrifying.
3) Definitely the story. I'm not big on mindless monsters.
4) Most scary movies are just scary movies to me, but every now and then one is done well enough to psych me out.
5) While it's not explicitly a monster movie, Alfred Hitchcock's 'The Birds'. I was very young, but crows are now my favorite birds, so the fear obviously didn't stick.
Erohiel Featured By Owner Nov 1, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
'Scary movies' never scare me. I never likes the Freddy/Jason/etc type stuff though 'cause it's always cheap startle-gimmicks instead of trying to get you with an actually frightening creature or atmosphere.

The scariest monsters/creatures/villains, however, are always the ones in which you can immediately see that there will be no such thing as reasoning with them, and in which they aren't even motive driven. That's why zombies are always a hit, because you know it's going to be after the victim no matter what, and NOTHING will ever change its mind.
clevercartoon-er Featured By Owner Nov 1, 2013
This' so bad ass :D lol.. Halloween is like the most kick ass holiday ever. Next to St. Patty's day lol
zac-the-hedge-hog12 Featured By Owner Oct 31, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Oh gosh, the movie I was scared of the most was probably when I caught my mum watching the original Exorcist movie. I was three.
CynicallyBankrupt Featured By Owner Oct 31, 2013  Student General Artist
Apocalyptic films are the scariest, as they show the greatest flaws and horrors we humans are capable of when our world is collapsing, whether it's a zombie film, a post apocalypse survival film, or even a series about a world black out show that we ourselves can be monsters.  

This anime called High School Of The Dead, where teens try to battle though a zombie apocalypse in Japan.  It highlighted both the social breakdown, when humans became just as dangerous as zombies and when a charismatic teacher became the leader of a group of students, then proceeded to twist, manipulate and pervert his group of students. It also showed how some humans will try to defend zombies and see them as victims, showing that even int he gravest of dangers, there will always be sympathizers to threats. And finally, it observes how human society doesn't react well or prepare well for disease. If entire groups of nations couldn't manage the black plague, the Spanish flu or the aids epidemic, then how are we going to handle a zombie outbreak?

In times of crisis, we humans are a danger to ourselves and each other. And the scary part: there is no defeating this monster, excising this ghost, surviving this killer, there is no answer, no happy ending for the monster movie about humans. That is what scares me. 

I'm just sayin
Haveniceday5 Featured By Owner Oct 31, 2013
Predetors are the best of the best
MaidenFlight Featured By Owner Oct 31, 2013
I used to be deathly afraid of Jurassic Park because the dinosaurs looked real. I was little.
AP-Lobo Featured By Owner Oct 31, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
1) It depends. I'm more of an animal monster fan (preferably the werewolf), so I guess it's whatever the moment calls for.

2) The slasher film sort, and all those psychological thrillers. I think possession is more "believable" because of the heavy influence Christianity has on many Western societies making us more familiar with it, and if you've got a Catholic granny like I do you know you NEVER use a ouiji board.

3) The story. Great CGI monsters are fun and all, but the twisted ideas behind them are what make me cringe.

4) Definitely! For me zombies are both ridiculous and terrifying. The ridiculous part is pretty self-explanatory, but on a psychological level it terrifies because of the idea behind it. I have a near OCD obsessive fear of epidemics and pandemics, and the zombie is basically a living breathing virus-- unthinking, irrational, virulent, contagious, unable to be frightened or reasoned with, and deadly. 

5) The mummy from the 1999 film "The Mummy". I never liked skeletons, and that gross, sinewy mummy scared me to tears.
LaleyWasHere Featured By Owner Oct 31, 2013   Filmographer
Did anyone else base their pick of the poision based off the Matrixs?
Lykhon Featured By Owner Oct 31, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
1. I like a single villian, although I like the idea of one single bad guy commanding over an army of monsters.

2. I have experienced ghostly hauntings myself (at least I think so :D ) and the effect of those on the psyche of humans is something that's hardly done well, but if it's done well it's really terryfying.
I also think storylines with much realism feature alien forces from outside the univers, e.g. War of the Worlds. I'm not so much a fan of gorey movies like Saw, although these have some sort of realism inside them.

3. This really depends on the movie. For example my friend and I watched a trailer for a new movie, and in the end we saw parts of a trailer of a horror movie in the "commercial". We checked the trailer out and it looked like an awesome movie, so we watched it. We actually watched it because we wanted to know "what was inside this box". This could count as watching a movie for the monster. But we also love the show Supernatural which we watch for the story. 

4. I was always interested in psychology, so this is an interest I definitely have. However, when I watch the movie I watch it because I want to see a scary movie. During the time of me watching it I don't care about the psychology behind it. Maybe I give it some thoughts later.

5. Don't know if it counts as a monster movie but the first movie that really got me was The Zombie Walks (original title: Im Banne des Unheimlichen) by Edgar Wallace which really freaked me out.
CocoThekitty1230 Featured By Owner Oct 31, 2013  Student Digital Artist
theflashisgone Featured By Owner Oct 31, 2013
1. I find groups of monsters scarier but individual villains more compelling. I don't really have a preference.
2. Stories focussed on either mobs or singular wrongdoers are the most compelling for me, because I already know humans are capable of horrible things both on their own and in groups, while I have to suspend my disbelief a lot more for fictional species of monster.
3. The story. I don't give a rat's ass what the monster is, unless the story itself grabs me.
4. Scary movies are scary movies while I'm watching them, it's afterwards that I think about what makes it scary. Some presenters, however, are very good at bringing the psychological aspects home while I'm still watching, Rod Serling and Alfred Hitchcock, for example.
5. The first "movie" that really scared me was the original "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet." In spite of being able to predict what was going to happen through the whole thing, the (in theory) relatively unscary gremlin kept me from sleeping for several nights. There was something outside my bedroom window that looked a lot like it when I took off my glasses to go to sleep, and it creeped the hell out of me.
AkireRosales Featured By Owner Oct 31, 2013
1. Both, as long as the story and the monster or the reason for the outbreak is well made.

2. Despite what many may think, Paranormal Activity was for me the best haunting movie. Mainly because it didnt explain much of why everything was happening and focused on the phenomenom. If the movie dares to give an explanation for the haunting, it better be damn good, otherwise the movie will be ruined (like what happened to REC 2, completely destroyed the film)

3. Story, hands down.

4. If the horror movie does not get deep into human psychology, is aiming to failure. Fear is a state of mind, and as such it requires a psychological stimulus to happen. Maybe visuals affected people 50 years ago, but nowadays no one gets scared by a dude in a monster suit. Why we get scared? What can make a human being shudder in fright? Why? The proper questions, made in time, are what turn into good horror movies.

5. "IT" by Stephen King. And not because he was a clown, but because he could turn into everything you were afraid of. He could deceive you turning into a nice old granny just to lure you. A predator of children that grown ups cant see? It means you are defenseless against it, because your parents cant protect you from IT. One of the best monsters ever made.
DavidJay93 Featured By Owner Oct 31, 2013
Individual monsters are always the best, in my opinion.
HaupieStudio Featured By Owner Oct 31, 2013  Student Digital Artist
Wow this was done SO well! Awesome read.
1. I like both, but prefer the singular bad guy.
2. I don't think possession or ghostly haunting are believable. I like watching horror movies for the suspense and bad acting (in some cases.)
3. depends on the movie
4. I've never thought of society's subconscious primal fears as a trend in movies before, and it's very interesting. But a scary movie is a scary movie.
5. sleepy hollow
basenjiboy Featured By Owner Oct 31, 2013
1. I don't really mind, but I find that individual things scare me just as much as mobs of creatures.
2. I don't really think that they are super believable, but sometimes fear can take over when you think it is real.
3. Mostly if it is a well told story it is more scary.
4. Yes it does. There must be reasons that we are scared of things, I find things like psychology interesting.
5. Probably Paranormal Activity. That was the first scary movie I have seen. The 'home movie' style to that was terrifying. And when I watched it with my friends, we didn't realise that the colour in her TV wasn't working, and we thought that it was supposed to be in black and white, so we watched the whole movie in black and white, which made it a whole lot scarier!
ThatOneGirl369 Featured By Owner Oct 31, 2013  Student Writer
1) I love individuals! Michael Myers is my all-time favorite horror villain, and who doesn't love Dracula? Mass-zombie outbreaks and alien invaders from Mars are nice and good for the right mood, but the individual or small-group bad guys really intrigue me because they are defined and (sometimes) have a back story, a reason for the madness. For example, zombies attack and kill on a basic animalistic instinct, while Jason kills because he was mentally scarred (and had possible brain damage from his incident in the lake) as a child, and was triggered by seeing his mother killed! It gives me a sort of empathy to the villain, because who wouldn't want revenge? 

2) I don't know if *any* movies have a "believable" story line, per say. What makes possessions so realistic, I think, is because it's more personal. Your house is haunted? Move. But, there is a demon inside of you, controlling your actions? Whoa! I also think it reveals to people what humans are capable of. We can kill, mutilate, ect; and all it takes is something slightly swaying are emotions/morals. 

3) For me, it's the monster! I get into it! I'm the one that goes home after the movie and asks, "Why?". I research, I rewatch, follow up with the series, read any books... just to understand the creature/person! The story is very interesting, but the monsters make it! 

4) Scary movies are very psychological. From the sounds used (that screeching noise played in the suspenseful parts of the movies was made to make us anxious, because as humans we nurture our young, and that sound strikingly resembles one of a baby crying. It makes our hair stand on end because not only is it loud and annoying, we can't stop it.), to the back round pictures and conversations. As I said in my second answer, sometimes they reveal what humans truly are capable of. It shows it in great detail that we can be viscous and evil, with little or no swaying needed. Other times, it shows us new things that "happen in the dark" or "go bump in the night"; the unknown. The unknown scares and intrigues us, because we want to know it and understand it but what's there is horrifying and goes against our logic... and the movies only give us so much. It's that "what you don't see" factor that really draws us in. 

5) Alright... when I was a kid (before I became a horror nut, obviously), I was very easily scared. It was to the point I wasn't allowed to watch even slightly scary movies because I wouldn't sleep for days after, constantly keeping my parents up. So, the first movie I really remember scaring me wasn't even a really "scary" movie. It was Sleepy Hollow, the one with Johnny Depp. The witch in it scared the CRAP out of me, and the tree with the heads. I know, not even the scariest parts of the movie. It got me, though, and it stuck for a long time. I was having nightmares for weeks. 

Thanks for the wonderful article! I really love reading breakdowns on horror movies. There's a great documentary on Netflix called American Horror, and is a lot like this, but even more broken down.
Hitzumaru Featured By Owner Oct 31, 2013  Hobbyist Artist
flowerf0x Featured By Owner Oct 31, 2013
1. I prefer individual monsters; somehow the group monsters take away from the aspect of terror.
2. Films like Friday the 13th
3. Definitely the story
4. Physiological underpinnings
5. Human Centipede 
LalalandMuse Featured By Owner Oct 31, 2013  Student Writer
This is really insightful. Here are my answers to your questions:
1) I prefer individual villains compared to masses of them. Somehow it seems more believable that way.
2) I think horror films featuring murderers have the most truth to them. It's not so hard to convince myself that the supernatural isn't real but I know that there are horrifically cruel people in the world, so it's easier to be truly disturbed by plotlines featuring murders that can happen in real life.
3) They story
4) They do interest me. For instance, I think the trend of alien/zombie movies does reflect the general urgein society to somehow stand together despite our differences.
5) The Cat's Eye, which I saw when I was eight or nine. Oddly enough, the human gore didn't bother me, but I can still remember the scene where the cat was being tortured to this day.
Edgars-Apprentice Featured By Owner Oct 31, 2013  Student Writer
1.) I enjoy both in reality. The hordes make it harder to escape and things like that, but individuals are harder to track. They add suspense that is sometimes hard to acquire in a multi-murderer scenario.

2.) There's a movie called "The Ward" that's about a girl suffering from multiple personality syndrome and sees a ghost. Spoiler alert: The ghost was her original personality trying to get rid of the others in her body. As for possessions, anyone can think they are possessed. It's a form of schizophrenia, much like Multiple Personality Syndrome, only the person that is "possessed" is aware that the other personality is foreign, and thus, should not be there.

3.) To be honest, I enjoy the suspension most.

4.) I do enjoy trying to figure out why it is that we are afraid of what we are afraid of and where that fear comes from. Not everyone knows this, but fear is learned. If you are not taught to fear a gun, you won't be mugged to easily. This is why I like to find out about other, more hidden, fears that exist.

5.) Movies haven't ever really scared me. The first thing I remember actualing screaming about was seeing Michael Jackson's face after the surgeries. I ended up under my bed crying after seeing that.
DarkSenereth Featured By Owner Oct 31, 2013
1: Don't really have a preference to be honest. I always did find something between the two to be a bit creepy, such as an individual monster that has virus-like effects on those exposed to it, a la Slenderman. Otherwise, it depends on how it's done. I never really found either vampires or zombies to be scary by virtue of what they are.

2: Not really sure, as I don't go looking for a universal truth in horror movies. Paranormal Activity got to me, but that was a result of how the boyfriend so carelessly and infuriatingly disregarded his girlfriend's frantic pleadings because he was so obsessed with fighting a monster that he put the person he supposedly "loved" in danger. It's rare for me to get that angry at someone in a movie, and when I do, it's because I've known people like that in real life, so that's a sort of truth in that movie.

I don't know that posessions are so much more believable than ghosts, at least not to me. I'm not completely convinced that either are real, but personally, I'm more inclined to believe in ghosts than I am in posessions due to both personal experiences, and people I've talked to who were very no-bullshit skeptics, or serious people in general, who claimed to have encountered ghosts in ways that made me think it wasn't just them trying to be sensationalistic or cool. I've never known someone, either first or second-hand to have claimed to witness a posession, and a lot of the symptoms of possession can be explained away by mental illness, or can be replicated while a person is under hypnosis. Then again, it is very easy for a person to "explain away" something that they have no experience with, but I'v heard many more down-to-earth, honest stories of ghosts, whereas the posession stories seemed to have been pretty sensationalised.

3: Both? Either-or? I suppose if it's a crap monster, I'd be more likely to overlook that if the story was good, but if the story's mediocre, if the monster's genuinely scary to me, I'm probably going to be a bit creeped out. I suppose it's the monster (or the threat in general) that's the scary part to me, but it's the story that gts me emotionally involved if it's good, so as to compound the fear.

4: Kind of, I guess. Since I like storytelling, I do like to have a basic outline of why we're scared of the things we're scared of, but since each person is different, I like to use such knowledge as a guideline more than the absolute truth in my own story crafting. When I'm watching a scary movie, I don't want to overanalyse it while I'm watching, since I'm just there to feel felings, but afterward I might introspect a bit to see why it scared me.

5: I...honestly don't know. As a kid, traditional horror movies didn't "terrify" me so to speak. I saw The Shining when I was five, and I found it thrilling and creepy like a haunted house, but it didn't give me nightmares. Honestly, it was movies aimed at kids that did that. Paulie, Mouse Hunt, and Babe: Pig In The City, are some of the most mentally scarring movies I saw as a kid. Being John Malkovitch practically gave me a nervous breakdown the night I watched it for some reason, but it was by no means a monster movie. The closest I think I can get is that I pretty much lost my shit when it came to Sloth from The Goonies. I saw that on VHS as a kid, and I was hiding uner the covers for half the movie because of friggin' Sloth.

It's funny because the theme continues to this day. I like scary shit just fine. Slenderman? Penumbra games? Creepy and unsettling, but not scarringly so. Stories with bleak settings, seemingly inescapable depression, and one misfortune after another? I need my blankie.
Add a Comment:

:icontechgnotic: More from techgnotic

Featured in Collections

Journals and Contests by LadyPingu

Journal Entries, Contests by spazzerilla

Community News and Info by SingingFlames

More from DeviantArt


Submitted on
October 17, 2013
Submitted with Writer


357,931 (3 today)
4,710 (who?)