What Makes Stories Scary...
The author uses descriptive vocabulary to make the setting seem tense and to give the reader a good idea of what the setting looks like! Here's a couple examples... good luck...
At the most remote end of the crypt there appeared another less spacious. Its walls had been lined with human remains, piled to the vault overhead, in the fashion of the great catacombs of Paris. Three sides of this interior crypt were still ornamented in this manner. From the fourth side the bones had been thrown down, and lay promiscuously upon the earth, forming at one point a mound of some size. Within the wall thus exposed by the displacing of the bones, we perceived a still interior crypt or recess, in depth about four feet, in width three, in height six or seven.
The Cask of Amontillado
And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door; And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming, And the lamplight o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor; And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor, shall be lifted- nevermore!
He sat until he was chilled with the cold, glancing occasionally at the figure of the old woman peering through the window. The candle end, which had burnt below the rim of the china candlestick, was throwing pulsating shadows on the ceiling and walls, until, with a flicker larger than the rest, it expired.
The Monkey's Paw
Visuals are another key concept that helps create suspense, a better understanding of the story, and to make the audience feel scared. Here are some visuals that you might see in scary stories!
And now at the dead hour of the night, amid the dreadful silence of that old house, so strange a noise as this excited me to uncontrollable terror. Yet, for some minutes longer I refrained and stood still. But the beating grew louder, louder! I thought the heart must burst. And now a new anxiety seized me --the sound would be heard by a neighbour! The old man's hour had come! With a loud yell, I threw open the lantern and leaped into the room. He shrieked once --once only.
The third main idea that creates a scary story is vagueness. Vagueness is not clearly or explicitly stating or expressing something. Vague is indefinite or indistinct in nature or character, as ideas or feelings. When an author is being vague it makes the reader wonder what is really going on. The author is descriptive, yet not revealing of the entire setting. Here is the first example from "The Tell Tale Heart".
The Fall of the House of Usher
I had so worked upon my imagination as really to believe that about the whole mansion and domain there hung an atmosphere peculiar to themselves and their immediate vicinity-an atmosphere which had no affinity with the air of heaven, but which had reeked up from the decayed trees, and the gray wall, and the silent tarn --a pestilent and mystic vapour, dull, sluggish, faintly discernible, and leaden-hued.
And... Black Stairs on Fire
Then the voice screamed louder, "Feet-water, wheel-band, besom, and turf-coal, let us in, let' us 'in:" and they all made to the door. Open it flew, and in rushed frightful old hags, wicked, shameless young ones, and the old boy himself, with red horns and a green tail. They began to tear and tatter round the house, and to curse and swear, and roar and bawl, and say such things as almost made the poor women sink through the hearthstone...
When an author is creating suspense, music plays a key role in fulfilling that suspense. As you have probably noticed, this music playing during the film sets a mood/atmosphere that is creepy/ scary or spooky.
There are many pieces of music that are scary or creepy. Some examples are Toccata and Fugue in D minor, performed by Bach, Somebody's Watching Me, by Rockwell, and Thriller, by Michael Jackson.
The last key point that makes a story scary is the atmosphere and mood. The atmosphere is the medium at a given place. The mood is the state or feeling at a particular time. The mood could be romantic, mysterious, humorous, or in this case, scary...
...The Tell Tale Heart...
I was never kinder to the old man than during the whole week before I killed him. And every night, about midnight, I turned the latch of his door and opened it --oh so gently! And then, when I had made an opening sufficient for my head, I put in a dark lantern, all closed, closed, that no light shone out, and then I thrust in my head. Oh, you would have laughed to see how cunningly I thrust it in! I moved it slowly --very, very slowly, so that I might not disturb the old man's sleep. It took me an hour to place my whole head within the opening so far that I could see him as he lay upon his bed.
The Monkey's Paw
Her husband was on his hands and knees groping wildly on the floor in search of the paw. If he could only find it before the thing outside got in. A perfect fusillade of knocks reverberated through the house, and he heard the scraping of a chair as his wife put it down in the passage against the door. He heard the creaking of the bolt as it came slowly back, and at the same moment he found the monkey's paw, and frantically breathed his third and last wish.The knocking ceased suddenly, although the echoes of it were still in the house. He heard the chair drawn back and the door opened. A cold wind rushed up the staircase, and a long loud wail of disappointment and misery from his wife gave him courage to run down to her side, and then to the gate beyond. The street lamp flickering opposite shone on a quiet and deserted road.
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
Just then he saw the goblin rising in his stirrups, and in the very act of hurling his head at him. Ichabod endeavored to dodge the horrible missile, but too late. It encountered his cranium with a tremendous crash. He was tumbled headlong into the dust, and gunpowder, the black steed, and the goblin rider, passed by like a whirlwind.
The End! Thanks for watching!