Queenie Chan, writer/artist of the very, very good The Dreaming (mentioned here at DBS in December), is running an interesting discussion of what people find frightening at her blog.
Some of the greatest fears mentioned by those who have contributed include serial killers, being abandoned, annihilation of the self, and being buried alive.
It’s interesting to me to hear what really scares people, as it’s a question I think about a lot in the context of horror art. There was certainly a time when the vampire, or werewolf, or whatever other classic horror archetype was legitimately and deeply scary to many people. But now, whether it’s a result of our maturing, cynical culture or just overexposure, it seems almost inconceivable to me that anyone could find those figures scary. And yet, so many “horror” movies or comics rely on just trotting out a vampire to prove to us that they’re scary.
To me, the most frightening things are almost never physical things, never figures, or objects. They’re ideas.
To answer Queenie’s question, the thing that scares me is other people. Not other people as actual people, but what it is that lives in other people, that we can’t really ever know who another person is inside, can’t be sure that we share values, are interacting on the same terms, or are even speaking to each other in the same way. That essentially unknowability, that mysteriousness, is truly terrifying to me.
So, what do you find scary? Go tell Queenie, and then come back and tell us.