Strange Horizons Columns: boo., by Iain Jackson:
What scares you?
I've been thinking about this a bit, after the last piece. I mean, the idea behind zombies is that they're supposed to be scary, right? You read about the zombies, and you suddenly feel the urge to hang around brightly lit rooms with lots of people while looking carefully for bite marks on their scalps, right? Only . . . not so much, it turns out. The zombies, as such, just weren't all that scary. So I looked at a few other comics, with ghoulies and ghaesties and things that go bump in the night, and none of them are particularly fearsome—at least, the supernatural paranormal spooky bits weren't. But if I go to a horror movie, or if I read the right kind of prose fiction, I can be plenty scared. There's a reason that I stay away from Stephen King and Clive Barker and other such authors, after all. There's a reason why I have to be poked and prodded and repeatedly importuned to see 28 Days Later or Cloverfield or Teeth or Alvin and the Chipmunks (. . . OK, I actually couldn't be poked or prodded or importuned enough to see that—one does have one's limits, after all). You simply can't pay me enough to listen to most horror audio plays or audiobooks. So why is it that horror on film or in books or audio works, and horror in comics just kind of . . . lies there?
I think, myself, that the difference is in how they work on your mind....