What is too horrifying to handle? Even the most hard-edged horror fan has her or his limits. Check out our Scary Meter and find out what your horror limits are!
If you’re a frequent listener of our podcast, you will have heard Mike and I discuss the Bridge too Far. The Bridge Too Far is the perceived limit of how much horror you can take in your movies. It does not take into account the quality of the movie. You might just want to walk out on House of 1000 Corpses since the movie sucks so bad, and the art direction is terrible… but you also might want to walk out on it because of the depravity it contains. It is the latter that interests me. I have created a Scariest Things Scary Meter for this idea, to serve as a reference guide for our fans. It is not a ranking of quality, but a ranking of horror nastiness.
There we a moment in every movie fan’s lives, where they realize that the film they are watching is going to be too much. Too scary. Too gory. Too cruel. Maybe you shouldn’t have gone to see the movie about the mad scientist making a golem out of dead babies. What an eight-year-old can handle is different than what the average adult can stomach, which is different than a hardened horror movie fan. This is a list for the scaredy cats. I think my mom bails out at level 4… a total scaredy cat. She has a hard time with police procedurals. I suspect the average horror-curious eleven-year-old gets to 8 (In most cases a PG-13 movie). Most of the adult non-horror fans will go see something that’s a 10 on the scale. A fan of horror movies most likely can get to level 20… and then it gets tricky. Being someone who can get to 22 is fearless. Getting to level 25 is sociopathic (Might want to call someone about that…)
The hardest thing to do when creating this list is that some films go beyond their tropes. Where would I peg Alien? Apart from the famous chest-burster scene, the movie is not that gory. It is, however, immensely scary, and that’s the craftsmanship and storytelling from Ridley Scott and Dan O’Bannon. I would probably put Alien at a 14 or 15 level film… but it is scarier than the level of violence would suggest. The same thing goes for movies like the Babadook and the Conjuring. No gore, no deaths, but intense action and scripting provide those films with cover your eyes moments. Also, there are comedies which are really gory, which would drop the scary factor a bit. Evil Dead II comes in much lower than I would put the original Evil Dead, despite similar production values and gore, because of the attitude of the movie. I think the original Evil Dead is about a 20, and the remake about a 21 (that whole tongue thing…. eeeeararrrrghh!)
Also, The Scariest Things Scary Meter does not take into account for people’s own personal phobias that would bump some things higher for other people. Eight Legged Freaks may be a 5 for most people, but an 18 for an arachnophobe. The Descent would shift from being a 15 to a 20 for a claustrophobe. So, the list here is completely subjective and will be different from person to person. But if you were to ask me for a recommendation, I would ask what your scary meter threshold is.
Stay tuned for our upcoming Podcast Episode XIX, where Mike and I discuss this chart and at what point we have to chicken out and not cross that bridge, and see where we have to take a step back.
Where is your breaking point? Where does your movie fit on the Scariest Thing Scary Meter? Is there a trope that stops you in your tracks… and makes you freeze on the bridge? Let us know!
Where would Begotten or Grotesque fall? I’m not sure if they’re around 21-23, but you might know better than me.