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Nothing is so frightening as what's behind the closed door. You approach the door in the old, deserted house, and you hear something scratching at it. The audience holds its breath along with the protagonist as she/he (more often she) approaches that door. The protagonist throws it open, and there is a ten-foot-tall bug. The audience screams, but this particular scream has an oddly relieved sound to it. "A bug ten feet tall is pretty horrible," the audience thinks, "but I can deal with a ten-foot-tall bug. I was afraid it might be a hundred feet tall.
—William F. Nolan
"Real terror is not the sight of death. It is the fear of death. What is the fear of death? Terror of the unknown."
Watson: I ought to be more case-hardened after my Afghan experiences. I saw my own comrades hacked to pieces at Maiwand without losing my nerve.
Harry: We were scared. It was like being lost: very young again, with the dark, and lost. There was no ... thing ... to be ... frightened of, but ...
—Edward Albee, A Delicate Balance.
"Do you know what the most frightening thing in the world is? Nothing."
—Ethros Demon, Corrupter of Souls, Angel, "I've Got You Under My Skin (1x14)"
—H. G. Wells, The Red Room.
You see, there are three kinds of horror games - first there's the kind where you're in a dark room and a guy in a spooky mask jumps out of a cupboard going "ABLOOGY WOOGY WOO". That would be your Doom 3. Then there's the kind where the guy in the spooky mask isn't in the cupboard, but right behind you, and you just know he's gonna go "ABLOOGY WOOGY WOO" at some point, but he doesn't, and you're getting more and more tense, but you don't want to turn around because he might stick his cock in your eye. That would be your Silent Hill 2. And then there are games where the guy in the spooky mask goes "ABLOOGY WOOGY WOO" while standing on the far side of a brightly lit room before walking slowly towards you, plucking a violin before smacking you in the face with a t-bone steak. That would be your Dead Space. You see, the second one is best, because your imagination is doing all the work, all a good horror game needs to do is hand you a piece of sandpaper and shout encouragement as you vigorously massage your own undercarriage.
Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
— Edgar Allan Poe, The Raven
Let me say this: if you have killed one monster, you have killed them all. They all go down the same. You pump them full of lead, or burn them with fire, or pray them to oblivion, or magick them to another dimension, or laser them into vapor, but they all die in the end, and if you can pack the heat, you can spank the monster. A shooting gallery is not the essence of horror, and neither is just being gobbled right and left, or surprized with a sudden 'boo!'. Real horror, real anxiety comes from waiting. It comes from expectation, from suspense. In the meeting with a monster, either you win, or you die. You beat the monster or it beats you. This can be drawn out, or samurai quick, but it is the end, the climax. The thing that makes the monster is the foreplay before hand. Sex and death have always gone together in most human cultures, and one reason is that they work the same...foreplay and climax.
—Jennifer Diane Riess, personal website.
Magister Hickory: The Master has been playing with us for a full week now. Lights on and off, odd noises, awful smells. And that was a glimpse of the Beast.
Josh: Man, if she's gonna get us, I wish she would just get us...I-I can't take this stress!
Megan: I sat back quietly, all week long, watching. While the two of you were slowly eaten alive by your own fear. And that's the best revenge there is.
—Both in the Drake and Josh episode "Megan's Revenge"
"Now you might be asking yourself why I'm not allowing you see who I am Lucius. If you think about it, I'm sure you will recall the power of the fear of the unknown, from your time hiding your face behind that white mask, all the while under the Imperius of course. You're frightened of me now, and will be even more frightened of me in the future. I've proven I can reach out and take you at anytime, no matter where you are, from your magnificent home to your private club."