I love to be scared. For some sick, twisted, masochistic reason, I do. And I am not alone in this. I look for ways to be scared all the time. I watch horror movies. I read horror novels. I take long walks alone late at night in shitty neighbourhoods with my headphones and sunglasses on. I obsess over alien invasions, conspiracy theories, the actuality of a zombie apocalypse, exorcisms. I dream about werewolves, dinosaurs, aliens, zombies, and vampires on a regular and consistent basis. Even subconsciously, my mind enjoys to be kept on edge. I also have the tendency to be extremely gullible and believe crazy stories that could maybe not be true at all but still could be true! I choose to look at it like I have an open mind.
Maybe I'm into survival like Joey Comeau and I subject myself to these sort of things for the purpose of being prepared for any possible situation that could potentially be terrifying. Trust me, I am mentally prepared for a zombie apocalypse. I will kill you if I have to.
Anyway, this all brought me to the thought of what is the better scare medium, movies or books? Do I prefer a horror film or a horror novel? Which scares me more?
One of the first novels I read was Cujo by Stephen King. I was 13. It scared me enough I think. One of the first horror/slasher type movies I can remember seeing was the 1993 film Leprachaun. I was 4. I remember being wide eyed and terrified during and a long while after. I recommend not doing that to a 4 year old. I was very afraid of little people for a while after that. Seriously.
But which scared me more?
Obviously reading a book takes more time and as such I was probably scared longer than when I watched Leprachaun. But I am pretty sure the ramifications of seeing someone be disemboweled by a small, magical creature was much greater than having my innocent 13 year old mind imagine what it would be like to be killed by a rabies crazed St. Bernard.
Yet the novel, Amittyville Horror, terrified me much more than seeing the movie(s). I remember not wanting to get out of my bed to turn the light off after reading it at night.
The same goes for the short story The Mist. I thought about the ending of that story for a long time after reading it. I hated the movie adaptation. Not scary at all.
The movie Jaws was awesome and scary as all hell. I still do not like swimming in large bodies of water, and I still check to make sure no one left a shark in the pool before I jump in. I didn't like the book any where near as much, nor was I as scared as when I watched the movies.
So maybe it depends. I think overall for me, seeing it, being subjected to someone else's disturbed imagination is much more terrifying than whatever I can come up with in my own head.
Images taken from http://www.google.ca/imgres?um=1&hl=en&sa=N&biw=1138&bih=499&tbm=isch&tbnid=__hrs0ZyNhblLM:&imgrefurl=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cujo&docid=Ak_v3HgU6e59aM&imgurl=http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/c/c6/Cujo.jpg/200px-Cujo.jpg&w=200&h=300&ei=IkKUT52wEYHC6AH_rsmLBA&zoom=1&iact=rc&dur=350&sig=103754570392684963774&page=1&tbnh=132&tbnw=88&start=0&ndsp=15&ved=1t:429,r:0,s:0,i:66&tx=45&ty=6