Simple question, really. What scares you in horror? What doesn’t? Why?
What scares me:
-Dark hallways/forests/other creepy places
-Weird geometry, or strange configurations in houses–basically, the bread and butter of the book House of Leaves.
-NOT showing the monster
-Disembodied sounds from nowhere
Basically, anything subtle, but still off-kilter or menacing. Probably has a lot to do with the nothing is scarier trope. Atmosphere is everything, and your imagination can come up with far scarier things than any author or filmmaker can.
What doesn’t scare me:
-Slashers with a hankering for horny teens
Simply put, these things simply don’t leave anything to the imagination. I once read a classic horror short story that had a fantastic build-up–a dark tower, a recurring dream, a grave, something evil looming, and other creepy, awesome stuff–then at the very end, the “evil” went “and now I’m going to suck your blood!” or something, and I wanted to punch my computer. All that build-up for a stupid vampire? You suck, story.