The student news site of McPherson High School

The High Life

The student news site of McPherson High School

The High Life

The student news site of McPherson High School

The High Life

Still and Silent: What could make horror more effective?

From+Adobe+Stock
From Adobe Stock

Horror as a genre is perhaps one of the most popular in existence, and for good reason. Even when the viewer is in no real danger, it still gets the body’s blood flowing and adrenaline pumping. Over the past decade or so, “jumpscare horror” in particular has grown to be vastly popular, especially with the rise of YouTube and other video streaming platforms. It wouldn’t be too hard to find a video online of a person playing horror games like “Five Nights at Freddy’s” (often shortened to “FNaF”), and due to this, the game grew in popularity. It was even adapted into a movie which came out back in October, 2023.

“FNaF” can be easily described as “jumpscare horror” with the quick scares that get your body racing. Though, while this form of horror is enjoyable, how effective is the scare in the long run? The point of jumpscares is to be a quick, one-and-done fright, with no long term consequences. This type of horror does work, yes, but only for a brief moment as the adrenaline dies down.

However, there is a type of horror that is in direct opposition to that of jumpscares. The type that, when you encounter it, you can’t help but stare. A feeling of paranoia and anxiety may even take root inside your gut, and you expect there to be a jumpscare. Yet, there is none. It simply lingers, a distorted image staring back at you. It burns itself into your eyes, and you remember it weeks later when you just so happen to enter a dark room.

As it stands, the latter seems to be more effective, especially on older individuals. During the progress of an individual’s life, they become desensitized to certain forms of media, including horror. This is perhaps a reason why a good few people watch slasher movies for fun. With this in mind, it can be assumed that jumpscare horror has less of an effect on people nowadays.

So, how can horror be improved from here? Jumpscares can be extremely effective when done right, though some have noticed that this kind of horror is not as good as it was in the genre’s early days. Just by observing the “FNaF” franchise alone, one can notice how newer games are becoming more of a cash-grab rather than a genuine product of love. A good form of horror, though, as mentioned previously, can remain stagnant yet unsettling. This form of horror especially can stick with people, even more so when it’s done correctly.

Effective fear-based media can be debated for years, and what can terrify one person may feel empty to another. Horror is subjective, though many can see that it’s becoming repetitive. There is nothing inherently wrong with jumpscares and cheap thrills, but with how vast the concept of fear is on its own, the horror genre should in turn begin to branch out. More variety will inevitably help spice things up, and hopefully lead to more disturbed souls. After all, isn’t that the purpose of horror?

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Kasper Morton, Journalist
Kasper is a Junior at MHS. He identifies as a trans man, and enjoys writing and talking about his experiences. He's involved in a variety of communities, such as LGBTQIA+, fictionkin/otherkin, and can commonly be found browsing and interacting in certain fandom spaces. Kasper's favorite games are Genshin Impact, Ensemble Stars, Minecraft, VRChat, and a variety of others. Kasper is currently interested in learning how to build computers. Kasper hopes that he can inform and educate people on certain identities and groups of people that he thinks deserve a voice.