What Makes Scary Movies Scary?

A collection of horror movies including “The Mummy” (1959), “Scream” (1996), “The Conjuring” (2013) and “Doctor Sleep” (2019).

Meg Donohue

A collection of horror movies including “The Mummy” (1959), “Scream” (1996), “The Conjuring” (2013) and “Doctor Sleep” (2019).

Bryana Myers, Staff Writer

Students and teachers at Central York High School discuss what makes scary movies scary. The typical horror movies are filled with gore, jump-scares, thrilling music, and horrific scenes. But what really makes them scary?

Movies are always focused on a certain audience. Scary movie viewers look for the best thrills and scares. The movies are gruesome and commonly rated PG-13 or R.

Certain elements can make a movie scary. Maybe the lighting or the shadows. The audience for these movies can find them enjoyable and keep them on the edge of their seat.

“The suspense and the thrill; I like not knowing what’s going to happen. I think when they’re predictable they’re not as good,” shares junior Veronica Langrehr.

Science teacher Malerie Kelly says, “Sometimes just the music can make you jump!”

Over the past few years, scary movies have been said to become less scary or not have an effective storyline or plot.

“Gore just doesn’t do it for me. Gory is gory and it’s all the same,” says health and PE teacher Richard Guinan.

On the other hand, some may argue that they’ve gotten better, and new technology, editing and makeup can make the movies more realistic.

“Some of the new ones aren’t as well done as they were in the past,” states Guinan.

Others like the older movies and stick with what they like.

“I lean towards the older versions of movies from the 80s and 90s like ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’,” he said.

Sophomore, Madalyn Wentz agrees that “Nightmare on Elm Street” is one of her favorites along with “Jeepers Creepers”.

Overall many of the students and teachers here at CYHS have shared that the old movies are still the good ones.

Kelly shares “Definitely the originals!” are still her go-to and favorites to watch.  

Culinary arts teacher Stephanie Crump shares what she thinks makes them real, “ I think what makes movies scary isn’t realistic monsters or CGI. I think the scariest movies all either rooted in history or could be a real scenario.”

So with many different opinions of what’s scary, good, and typical horror keeps the question unanswered, what makes scary movies scary?