So, what is the difference between creepy and scary?

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Zane Charron, Apr 20, 2005.

  1. Zane Charron

    Zane Charron Second Unit

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    I've often wondered what the difference is between creepy and scary, particularly when it's used in film reviews, such as "the movie is more creepy/disturbing/unnsettling than scary". These same critics bash films when they simply use tactics to make you jump from suprise, such as a loud crescendo when a character opens a closet, but then they imply that "creepy" isn't as good/frightening as "scary". So my question is, what is "scary"? What is a genuinely "scary" movie, and not just "creepy"?

    For example, my favorite horror films tend to be what most would call "creepy", such as The Changeling (which I would call both creepy and scary), The Blair Witch Project, The Others, The Haunting (original), Night of the Living Dead, etc, The Shining, etc.
     
  2. LanieParker

    LanieParker Supporting Actor

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    Scary to me is like, jump out of your seat, grab hold of something scary. Halloween, Aliens, The Thing are all movies I would say are scary.

    Creepy to me are movies like The Sixth Sense, The Others, The Ring, The Grudge... where there are paranormal and unexplainable events that occur, demonic posession, night terrors, things like that.

    It may just be different for alot of people...
     
  3. Zane Charron

    Zane Charron Second Unit

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    For me, scary is that incredibly tense feeling you get when the camera tracks down to the basement at the end of The Blair Witch Project, or the seance scene in The Changeling. Moments that make you so tense you are gripping your seat and squirming in your chair.

    Cheap thrills that make you jump when someone goes "boo" are, to me, just reactionary impulses. There is little real fear or dread there. You could put a similar scene in When Harry Met Sally and it would be just as effective. I'll jump with the rest or 'em, but I'll feel cheap about it afterward. :b
     
  4. Malcolm R

    Malcolm R Executive Producer

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    For me, creepy is reserved for atmosphere and setting.

    Scary is reserved for specific events/things/celebrities.

    Walking through a cemetery at night is creepy. When something climbs out of a grave and starts chasing you, that's scary.
     
  5. Ernest Rister

    Ernest Rister Producer

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    What is the difference between Creepy and Scary...

    Michael Jackson and Joan Rivers.
     
  6. Robert*S

    Robert*S Stunt Coordinator

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    "What is the difference between Creepy and Scary...

    Michael Jackson and Joan Rivers."

    Ernest - you nailed that perfectly!



    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  7. Chris Farmer

    Chris Farmer Screenwriter

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    And that about sums things up. Thread over. Noting more needs to be said.
     
  8. Linda Thompson

    Linda Thompson Supporting Actor

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    To way-oversimplify it, I think I could say that the major difference for me is that "scary" is something that affects me at a given moment (an event, an emotion, a thought...whatever), I deal with it, and then it's over and done with, and I go on about my business. "Creepy", on the other hand, stays with me longer, and it lingers in my thoughts for a while... It's a feeling that's often hard to just shake off.

    "Scary" is seeing somebody peeping in your window at night. "Creepy" is not seeing somebody peeping in your window...but yet still feeling like they're there, watching your every move.

    "Scary" works on my neurons, my adrenaline, and my cardiac and motor reflexes. "Creepy" works on my psyche...and quite often keeps working on it.
     
  9. ElAhrai

    ElAhrai Stunt Coordinator

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    I think Linda explained it best. I couldn't agree more.

    Although Ernest's take is pretty compelling too [​IMG]
     
  10. rockinricky

    rockinricky Stunt Coordinator

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    Scary makes you jump.

    Creepy makes you stay awake.
     
  11. Shayne Lebrun

    Shayne Lebrun Screenwriter

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    One is mental, one is physical.
     

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