What is the difference between spooky and creepy? (discussion)


#1

Here are my suggestions of those genre words so often mixed together.
Rarely will you see a movie that is a pure example of one definition, but I would love to hear about books, games or movies as examples of each.
I’m sure everybody will argue over these!

Scary: Dealing with (seemingly) dangerous things. I would say this is the most useless when discussing the horror genre. Carnival rides are scary. Jump-scares are cheap because they prey on your instinct to physically react to sudden stimuli REGARDLESS of the situation. Boo! Slasher movies might fall into this category.

Spooky: Things that go bump in the night. Paranormal stuff. Potentially dangerous stuff you can’t see. That’s why they call spies ‘spooks’. Haunted house stories fall here. ‘The Others’. Scooby Doo. (‘Thpooky!’)

Creepy: Things difficult to determine whether they are bad or harmless. The gas station attendant in slasher movies is a classic example. A guy who drools and has one walleye might just be a nice guy with bad luck or genetics. Spiders are creepy because they aren’t necessarily bad but they CAN be. Creepy maximizes the nervous factor. Unease. For anybody who watched the sci-fi series Humans (SPOILER), that girl robot staring at little girls and family pictures isn’t actually doing anything wrong. (turns out the exact opposite actually but we tend to assume the worse) The Uncanny Valley lives here. The girl watching over her husbands bed all night in Paranormal Activity. The list goes on and on. My favorite category.

Horror: Things that are psychologically (very) disturbing and may leave a lasting (unwanted) memory. Being buried alive is a horrible experience. Obviously you can fit almost anything into this description, hence the ‘Horror’ genre.

Terror: Bad things that ARE going to happen to you. I find this to be a dated term actually, although I might label slasher movies as exercises in terror, for the watchers anyway.

Chilling: Things that make you goose-bumpy. I imagine this might be a mental change in response to a change in perception. I once read the police blotter for my suburb for the week between Christmas and New Years that reported 11 suicides. Eleven! Suddenly I didn’t live in such a cozy neighborhood.

Haunting/Shocking: These seem to be polar opposites. Both leave lasting impressions but the former sneaks in whereas the latter explodes in your face.

So, which categories do you think describe Scratches, and potentially Asylum? If Agustin says “All of them!” I’m going to pass out from holding my breath.