Frankenstein, Dracula, or the Wolf Man Have you ever wondered what makes people scared, and I do mean, really-really scared? Could it be something to do with being afraid of the unknown, or alternatively, could this emotion be associated with something more visually oriented, focused towards what we can see with our eyes rather than what we can't see with our brain?

Back in the day, Alfred Hitchcock, famed filmmaker and master of suspense, once stated in an interview that people are generally more afraid of what they can't see. He then gave an example of this by explaining a scene from one of his films, 'Psycho' I think, by recounting how he shied away from showing the audience too much of the story, as that way they could 'fill in the blanks', so to speak, and basically scare themselves with their own individual fears.

Monsters from Universal Movies: Dracula, Frankenstein, Wolf Man, The Phantom, The Mummy
Now to some extent I kind of understand where he's coming from with this. Sometimes too much can be too much, simply because it can overindulge our senses and put us off seeing whatever it is we're sitting down to watch, be it a horror movie, be it a comedy, or be it a period melodrama. Yet that said, sometimes the opposite is also true. If you don't give the audience enough of what they need to see so they can understand what's actually going on, indirectly they could also loose interest, get board, and fundamentally not care about the story being told.

I mean, if you've ever watched a Gothic horror film like Frankenstein, Dracula, or the Wolf Man, wouldn't you get irritated if you never saw 'the monster' for the whole duration of the movie? I would, and I'm pretty sure you would as well. But then again, does any of this answer my initial question? What is it that makes people scared? Is it the thought of the unknown or the unexplained? Is it the sight of the bizarre or the strange? Or could it be something even less apparent? Something bordering on the subliminal!

Case in point, as a kid, I remember being scared of men who grew Abraham Lincoln styled beards -- 'Shenandoah' I think they're called. You know, those beards without a mustache, even though they grow around the face. To me, there was just something really weird and unusual about how these beards looked on a person. It was as if the logical part of my brain would scream out, 'Hey, where'd the mustache bit go! It should be there as that's what joins all the other parts of the beard together'.

Zombie Abe LincolnThe funny thing about this, is that I did -- and still do -- like the sight of a more conventional looking beard, regardless of its length, its texture, or its hue. But as for those Abraham Lincoln styled beards, ouch, they just freaked me out, as every time I saw one my heart would skip a beat and the blood in my body would rush to my feet

Thankfully, as the years passed, and my resilience grew and grew, eventually this strange fear I possessed slowly ebbed away, and today, heck, they don't bother me at all. In fact, a couple of years ago I grew one just for the sake of growing one.

Come to think of it, I wonder if any of this kind of answers my initial question? Would people be less scared of so-called monsters like Frankenstein, Dracula, or the Wolf Man, if they were, or knew of a person like a Frankenstein, a Dracula, or a Wolf Man? Could the true nature of fear really be what we don't know compiled with what we can't understand? Both of them working together, hand in hand, telling us to look out, calm down, and essentially come to terms with embracing the undefined and the concept of not being perfect. To some degree that would explain why a lot of people are on the internet nowadays! But hey, as they say, that is a topic for another day. Here, when you have the time please check out this great monster themed infographic given to us by the bed company, dreams.co.uk.

40 Monsters


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