There are movies marketed as “scary,” and then there are the movies that make a viewer afraid to turn out the lights for a month. With so many films classified under “horror,” it’s all up to the viewer to decide what’s terrifying and why.
According to Distinguished Professor and Co-Director of Media Effects Research Lab Mary Beth Oliver, there are different kinds of fear.
For example, there are some things that scare us when we’re younger that come back to bite.
“A lot of times when we’re a kid, that fear lingers on,” Oliver said.
For her, the movie “Jaws” still pops into her mind sometimes while she’s underwater. Oliver is an avid scuba diver.
Particularly diving at night, Oliver said that “Jaws” and “Open Water,” the entirety of which she said she couldn’t watch, come to mind.
“Jaws” also scared student Logan Brown (freshman-aerospace engineering) when he was a kid.
Shark attacks are, of course, real things. They can happen, Oliver said, which makes these films scary.
Then there are paranormal movies –– bumps in the night, phantom shadows –– that make audiences jump.
Who can forget being told “Seven days…” from “The Ring?”
Aubrey Fulton said that of all the scary movies, “Believe it or not, ‘The Ring’ was the scariest.”
Fulton (senior-architectural engineering) said that she would wake up and think the character from “The Ring” was in a corner of her room, just as she was in the movie. She also said that she had a well in her backyard, and there was a well employed in the film.
Oliver said that right now, she thinks the paranormal-theme horror movies are popular, which let the audience get into their own imaginations, causing fear.
“On the theme of paranormal, I think people continue to be afraid of ‘The Exorcist’,” Oliver said.
“The Exorcist,” home of full-head rotation and pea soup-splattering horror, came out in 1973.
Holland Haryotomo (freshman-electrical engineering)said Stephen King’s “It” scared him because he’s “deathly” afraid of clowns.
Oliver also mentioned “It” along with “The Shining,” which displayed the iconic line “Here’s Johnny!” as Jack Nicholson ripped through a door with an axe.
“I really liked it,” she said of “The Shining.” “I thought it was great, but scary.”
Becky Zollo said the scariest film she’s seen is “The Fourth Kind.” She said that what scared her when she saw it was that it was supposedly based on a true story, which turned out to be false.
“They had real footage of things happening and at one part a guy shot his family and then himself,” Zollo (sophomore-food science) said of the scariest part.