What Makes a Scary Movie, Scary?


JP Pennant

It is spookie season everyone! MRHS’s favorite time of the year. Halloween parties start to occur, people get to dress up, it’s finally Fall, but most importantly, scary movies are screening in movie theaters. According to CBS News about half of the people in America like horror movies and I’m sure you’re one of them. The list of horror movies out or coming out consists of Megan, Smile, and Pray for the Devil. These make me wonder, What makes a scary movie scary? To get that answer I interviewed people at MRHS to see what makes a movie so scary.

I walked around MRHS for a week asking people the question, What makes movies scary? First up was Leeshayna Feliciano. I asked and here is her reply. She said, “I like how they make it seem realistic. They put all the gore in it, the senses, how dark it is, the coloring, the lighting, all that.” Then I asked her what her favorite scary movie is. She replied, “The whole Scream series.” Side note, Scream 5 made $140 million and only cost 24 million. Moving on, I asked Mr.Hanna, an English 1 teacher, the same question. He replied with, “A good scary movie is a movie that doesn’t scare you right away but makes you think about what’s actually scary.” Then I asked what his favorite scary movie is and his response was, “My favorite all time scary movie would be the original Scream because It’s a comedy and a horror in one. I actually watch it almost every Halloween.” The original Scream made in 1996 cost $15 million to make but according to the Box Office made an outstanding $173 million. Next, I interviewed Mr. Reyes, the TV/Video production teacher. I asked him the same question and he replied with, “ One of the ways to be truly scared is to create a situation of an unknown factor. So for instance in a lot of scary films the reason they take place in the dark is because we are naturally scared of the dark. Not because it’s dark, but because we don’t know what’s there, we can’t see what’s there… It’s the element of the unknown that really pushes the idea of scary things.”  What’s his favorite scary movie? Apparently he doesn’t watch any. 

After asking a few other people, I started to think of an answer for myself. I think what makes a scary movie scary is it being able to bring your worst nightmares into the real world. I think whenever people can’t fully grasp or comprehend something they’re seeing it makes them scared. My favorite scary move would have to be Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. It took $25–28 million to make and according to the Box Office it made $104.5 million. 

So apparently what makes a scary movie scary to MRHS is the feeling of the unknown, suspense, and a hint of realism.