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Movie Analysis: Creepy OR Scary? Which Movies Give The Worst Nightmares?

Updated on October 3, 2013
I'm hella scary!
I'm hella scary!

Creepy. At least that's my choice. I don't really watch horror movies all that much (I used to, when I was younger), but "creepy" horror movies usually "get" me more, compared to "scary" horror movies. Which actually brings us to the ULTIMATE question; how is "creepy" different than "scary"? What is the real difference between creepy and scary when it comes to horror movies anyway? What kinds of horror movies should be described as "creepy", and what kinds of horror movies should be described as "scary"? Aren't they all just the same? Let's discuss!

Scary Horror Movies?

So let's talk about "scary" first. What are some of the movies that you would consider scary rather than anything else? For me, I would put Zombie and monster movies under "scary", though they never succeeded in scaring me (they either bore me or I just find them hilarious).

Gore and gruesome movies like Hills Have Eyes are probably best classified under "scary" too, for what they obviously are. People who are weak-hearted when it comes to blood (and more blood) become the film makers' easy targets for this kind of movies.

Another example of a movie that I would put under the label of scary is probably 28 Days Later, and to top that one off, let's add The Texas Chain Saw Massacre too (the 1974 version, NOT the 2003 remake that starred Jessica Biel).

Though personally I didn't find any of the movies I mentioned above close to scary, all the three of them received positive reactions from horror movie fans. We got blood, gore, gruesome scenes (i.e disassembling of human) and for most people this is good enough to give them a good scare. But does scary really mean all gore and blood? Of course not.

Scary is probably more toward a direct event or chronicle of events, that someone directly experiences. An experience of seeing your whole family being abducted by aliens from Mars in front of your eyes can be scary. An experience of riding an elevator alone with a dead body or standing on top of the tallest building in the world (doesn't involve gore) can also be scary (depending on the individuals).

I was raised in Asia, and personally I always wonder why people in the West side of the world think of gore and psychopathic killer as scary? Maybe it's culture and our surroundings, but I can never find psycho movies scary (or creepy in that matter). Movies like The Human Centipede are just downright ridiculous. And so far I haven't been having nightmares after watching these types of movies. I usually don't even remember much about the movie a few hours after watching it. At the movie The Human Centipede, I was disgusted yes, scared no. How about you?

One of the scene from the movie Hills Have Eyes.
One of the scene from the movie Hills Have Eyes.

Creepy Horror Movies?

Now how about creepy horror movies? What are the movies that are more "creepy" rather than scary? For me, I would put movies like The Blair Witch Project, Paranormal Activity or The Ring under "creepy horror movies".

Creepy usually works on me the best when it comes to horror movies. More often than not these movies don't even involve gore and gruesome scenes. No blood spills, no nothing. What they do instead, is they play with your mind, which is one of the reasons they stay in (and play with) your mind longer. That's the thing. Creepy horror movies don't show you "things", they just give you the "idea" that something is "there", and yet it works better (at least for me). Now how about you?


Out of all the horror movies I've seen, only 2 of them gave me nightmares. The first one was Fright Night (the original 1985 version), which I saw when I was probably 6 or 7, at home, when it was playing on TV, and which gave me nightmares throughout the month. The second one was Paranormal Activity (the first, original movie only, anything after that just pure trash), which I saw with a friend back in 2009 and made me sleep with the lights on for 5 nights.

The first one, Fright Night (1985), was actually (at least to me now) neither scary nor creepy. It probably was, to a child, or probably only to a child that never really watched a horror movie before that (like me at the time). I watched it again when I was an adult and it was, like I said, neither scary nor creepy.

As for Paranormal Activity, I admit it, the 5 nights after seeing the movie sometimes I lay in my bed at night with my eyes shut, thinking if someone in the family might be standing at the side of my bed watching me sleep, in the quietness of the night, human but inhuman (like what happened with Micah in the movie).

When I watched the movie, I didn't know anything about it, never read any review about it, and didn't even know what movie it was (which was the best thing about it because then I watched it totally unbiased). Me and a friend just decided to watch it because it was about to start at the time we arrived at the cinema.

I think one of the things that makes the movie work is the fact that it plays with your trust you have for your loved ones. And the realism of the movie, the fact that this very thing that happened in the movie could just happen to you in your own house, it certainly plays with your mind and messes with it.

So what are the movies that give you nightmares or make you sleep with the lights on? Leave a comment below!

Have your say!

What do YOU think? Creepy or scary?

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    • nufoundglory profile image

      nufoundglory 4 years ago from Asia

      @jklahlou, Yeah, the 'scary' ones are usually predictable, and most of them use cheap scare tactics to scare the audience. I hate that.

    • nufoundglory profile image

      nufoundglory 4 years ago from Asia

      @JMcFarland, I've never watched Sinister, but from a little bit of googling seems like it's the kind of movie that has both 'creepy' and 'scary' elements in it. I'd need to watch it to really know though. Your comment actually motivates me to see it. Or maybe I'll watch Silence of the lambs first, since it got a very high rating on IMDB as well as Rotten Tomatoes. I love movies that play with your sanity. :)

    • jklahlou profile image

      jklahlou 4 years ago

      Only creepy movies scare me in the slightest.

      The 'scary' ones tend to be relatively predictable so it has less of an effect. You can also separate them from reality easily.

      The creepy ones seem to play on stuff which cant be falsified, such as ghosts and demons etc.

      If I had to choose the most frightening film for me, it would have to be Mirrors. Erasorhead is worth a mention too, with its style representing an industrial Freudian nightmare.

    • JMcFarland profile image

      Elizabeth 4 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

      Only rarely has a movie ever scared me - and I can only think of one in recent memory right off the top of my head "Sinister". It got to me AND gave me nightmares, and coming from a horror movie buff, that says a lot. I agree, most of the blood/gore/slasher type movies are more funny than scary. And most of the horror movies out there fall under these categories. Overall, it's the psychological thriller movies that give my mind a run for its money - movies that seep into your subconscious without you even realizing it. Unfortunately, these movies (like Silence of the Lambs) seem to be extremely rare, and they're a dying breed. I'd love to see more of them, but they're difficult to find - and you have to wade through all of the blood and guts to uncover a truly good one.