So, coming up on Halloween, it occurs to me that I am fascinated by fear, my own in particular but also just as a general thing.
The thing going on now with the clown attacks is a great example. See, I visited my folks recently and there’s this great woods behind there house, I ran around in it all throughout my childhood and even now will when I get the chance on a visit. Even knowing that the small town I grew up in is unlikely to have random clowns, even knowing that the chances of my running into one was functionally zero, I couldn’t convince myself to go out.
It was kind of the same thing a few years back with Slenderman. I’d read a bunch of stories or blogs or watch videos, and I’d freak myself out and be looking over my shoulder pretty consistently. Then a day or so would pass and I’d be right back to it because I enjoyed that little riff of fear.
I think it’s always been like that. I’m not a big fan of horror games because they either rely on jump scares too heavily and I’m not a fan of those, or because I get into it too much and psych myself out. Horror novels and fiction though, I’m here for that. Let me build the thing up in my mind. Let me let my thoughts run rampant, turning little details into signs and portents. Guide me though a character’s fall from normalcy.
So, tell me, what scares you? What makes horror work?