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Figure 21 from Charles Darwin's The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals. Caption reads "FIG. 21.—Horror and Agony, copied from a photograph by Dr. Duchenne."
Horror is barely ever on the side of the powerful or the mean. The good writers and filmmakers of the genre can tap into our very real fears and follow them to their logical conclusions. ~ April Wolfe
When the Second World War finished I was 23 and already I had seen enough horror to last me a lifetime. I’d seen dreadful, dreadful things, without saying a word. So seeing horror depicted on film doesn't affect me much. ~ Christopher Lee

Horror is the feeling of revulsion that usually follows a frightening sight, sound, or otherwise experience. It is the feeling one gets after coming to an awful realization or experiencing a deeply unpleasant occurrence. In other words, horror is more related to being shocked or scared (being horrified), while terror is more related to being anxious or fearful.


  • I will make this city an object of horror and something to whistle at. Every last one passing by it will stare in horror and whistle over all its plagues.
  • I look before me at my lighted candles,
    I don’t want to turn around and see with horror
    How quickly the dark line is lengthening,
    How quickly the candles multiply that have been put out.
    • Constantine P. Cavafy, Candles (Κεριά), as translated by Manolis, in Constantine P. Cavafy: Poems (2008) edited by George Amabile.
  • Recent history has reminded us that racial terror makes for an effective freak show, as anyone following the cycle of police shooting, to protest, to grand jury acquittal already knows. H.P. Lovecraft once wrote of the difference between "mere physical fear" and "cosmic fear": the difference between being grossed out and, in the cosmic extreme, of having one’s sense of how the world works upended. True horror is cosmic fear. It’s there when I pass by cops at night, or when there’s a Confederate flag waving from the truck of a customer in the same restaurant as me. Horror, as Lovecraft described it, beckons "unexplainable dread." Keyword: unexplainable. Racism is no mystery. But whether it’s in store, at any given moment, certainly is.
  • When I finally took my husband to see Pet Sematary a few months ago, I looked over during the film, and my husband had his hands over his face...it was too funny.
    Women are wired to give birth, so maybe there's something in us that makes us more immune to horror, films with girls in bikinis getting raped and killed make me angry, but a really chilling horror film where it really gets under your skin and like it really could happen, those are the ones I like.
  • What was the whole literature of supernatural horror but an essay to make death itself exciting?—wonder and strangeness to life’s very end.
  • The horror experience is most scary when the player really isn’t sure whether their character is going to live or diedeath and survival need to be on a constant see-saw. If there’s a situation where you’re not 100% sure that you can avoid or defeat the enemies, if you feel maybe there’s a chance you’ll make it – that’s where horror lies. Creating that situation is vital. Also, I don’t want to just stand there shooting dozens of enemies. Die! Die! Die! I don’t have the energy for that.
  • ...murder, mayhem, robbery, rape, cannibalism, carnage, necrophilia, sex, sadism, masochism ... and virtually every other form of crime, degeneracy, bestiality and horror.
  • What is almost universally true of horror is that it’s been used as a tool to express social and political discontent for the marginalized since its creation. It’s a kind of popcorn propaganda that’s allowed writers and filmmakers to voice their anxieties while couching them in titillating narratives that would fly below any political censors.

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