Frightening and Fearless: Does Anything Scare A Horror Author?

Ever since I started publishing horror, and immersing myself in the genre to learn as much as possible about it, I’ve been spending more time thinking about fear. Not only is it useful for me to analyze fear for my writing and character building, but all of this time spent thinking about horror has encouraged me to face some of my own fears.

If you’ve been keeping an eye on me for the past year or so, you’ll know I’ve faced my fears of The Woman in Black (2012), The Grudge (2004), and getting my ears pierced. But surely that doesn’t mean I’m now fearless?

Far from it.

So I’m sure you’re wondering, what scares a horror author? Am I numb to the horror stories I consume, or is there something that makes me cringe with fear and revulsion? Here is my top 10, from most to least spine tingling:

  1. Worms: I hate, hate, HATE that one scene in Godzilla (1998). And I hate it when it rains. I will never get over this fear. Ever. EVER!
  2. Cars / Traffic: This is more of a real life fear than a fictional one, but it certainly makes the terror more believable in books/movies like Christine.
  3. Ghosts: This is why it was so hard for me to watch The Grudge and The Woman in Black. Yes, I do believe in ghosts. And yes, it does freak me out when the cats act like they can see something I can’t.
  4. Teeth getting knocked out: I recently watched Body Cam (2020) and had a real hard time with all those teeth. For some reason, I’m okay if they get pulled out, but seeing them knocked out by blunt force just makes my skin crawl.
  5. Heights: Again, a real life fear. This one doesn’t scare me in books or movies at all. Not even in a film like Skyscraper (2018).
  6. Paralysis: This is a very real fear for me as it happens whenever I have a severe anxiety attack. Mara (2018) scared the shit out of me, and not just because Javier Botet did such a great job portraying the sleep paralysis demon.
  7. Being unable to breathe: Again, something that comes from my anxiety attacks, but also caused by seeing my sister hospitalized from asthma attacks as a kid. Yet, any movie or book that makes me hold my breath is a winner in my book. And no, I have not yet been able to bring myself to watch Buried (2010).
  8. Burning to death: That scene in Silent Hill (2006) was hands down the most difficult example of this for me to watch. The similar scene in Doomsday (2008) is a close second.
  9. The feeling of being watched: I love keeping an eye out for the perfect camera shots that pull off this effect without being cheesy. But I do not love when I’m alone in my own home and feel like someone else is there. It’s those damn ghosts again.
  10. Hagfish: Sometimes, I do get scared and grossed out watching Shark Week.

With spooky season just around the corner, are you ready to face your fears?

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