What makes a truly terrifying movie?

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Neha Kaul, A&E Editor

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With Halloween coming up, many Cal High students are preparing to watch their favorite horror movies.

Many have left behind the days of trick or treating, while the options of Halloween continue to get unhealthier. Candy from strangers or Netflix?

But when it comes to horror movies, there are several different categories for students to consider.

There are the typical blood and gore types, such as the 1974’s “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.” There are also supernatural films that deal with possession and demons. One of the more popular supernatural films is  “The Exorcist.”

It is this latter type of horror film that Cal students seem to prefer.

In a poll of 100 Cal students, 68 percent said they preferred supernatural over gory horror films. Twenty five students from each grade level were polled.

Juniors had the highest number of students in the four grade levels who preferred gore over supernatural, with 11 of 25 selecting that type of horror film.

The seniors were surprisingly the most intolerant of bloodshed, with just six out of 25 students in favor of gory films.

Seven of 25 freshmen and eight of 25 sophomores preferred gore over supernatural films. Cal students can’t seem to stomach blood and guts.

Of the students that were polled, the most commonly mentioned films as their favorites included “Insidious,” “The Purge,” “Halloween,” “It Follows,” “Silence of the Lambs,” and “The Cabin in the Woods.”

Of 100 students polled, 68 percent preferred supernatural-type films (“Poltergiest,” “The Shining”) over gore-type films (“Saw,” “Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” “Dead Alive”).

Of 100 students polled, 68 percent preferred supernatural-type films (“Poltergiest,” “The Shining”) over gore-type films (“Saw,” “Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” “Dead Alive”).

Just about all of those movies share the same components of suspense, gore and jump scares.

The horror film industry remains one of the biggest and most successful. There are several elements that make a horror movie scary.

“That scary chick in the background…the face that pops out of nowhere,” said senior Zach Grey. “She gives me nightmares.”

Grey said this element of horror movies was especially noticed in “The Grudge.”

“I like it when you have to question if it could happen in real life rather than just killing people off,” said senior Christy Spence. “If you have to think about it a lot after the movie, it makes it more interesting,.”

Fear has a lot of components that horror movie directors and actors play with,  using different tactics to instigate fear in the human brain.

Psychological thrillers show a more realistic perspective of horror.

“Fear is something we’ve created. It is its own entity, and controls our mind as well as our bodies,” said teacher Eghosa Obaiza. “A good director will appeal to your mind and make you think about what could potentially happen in the movie or in real life.”

Obaiza explained how good horror movies also need the factor of curiosity in order to keep the audience captivated.

Freshman Varun Thakur explained that the actor playing the villain is huge in determining the effectiveness of a scary film.

Cal students mentioned Jack Nicholson, Jennifer Lawrence, and Evan Peters as some of their favorite scary movie stars.

Besides an eerie plot, the ultimate horror film has to have a terrifyingly awesome soundtrack. Some of the most notoriously scary soundtracks derive from Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho,” “Nightmare on Elm Street,” and “Halloween.”

Freshman Lee Swen chose “Jaws” as his favorite scary movie, a film well known for its soundtrack.

“Music is a huge part of what makes a horror movie scary,” said sophomore Alina Verzi. “It has to be all dark and scary.”