Please tell me /lit/, what makes a good horror story? A sense of mystery? Paranormal? The Unknown? What are some great examples of short stories or novels that really unhinged you?
ambiguous evil, uncanny normality, fake idyll, mindfuck twists, like a crime novel without actual crime, organic foreshadowing
if something paranormal is introduced too early it can easily destroy the first two elements because it creates a visible us/them barrier and there is no more paranoia.
>A sense of mystery?
IMO horror is not about what you show, but about what you leave to the reader's imagination. Horror lies in ambiguity, Once it is explained it ceases to be horror and joins the endless catalogue of things that exist
A certain degree of plausibility, of psychological, social and scientific realism, is what separates a merely scary story from true horror that sticks with you. It's what does it for me in http://squid314.livejournal.com/332946.html. If you don't mind a bunch of made-up names from a fantasy universe you've probably never heard of you should absolutely read it.
See Edgar Allen Poe. Any of it. Anything that invokes that perverseness in us. Something we know is so deeply wrong, but we can't turn our heads away. Charles Brockden Brown preceded Poe on this with Wieland.
By extension this also means H.P Lovecraft is a good example because Lovecraft heavily iterated on Poe.
City in the Sea
Shadow Over Innsmouth
Imp of the Perverse
Nathaniel Hawthorne is another good place.
When the lights dim, our minds begin to perceive things in strange ways.
The Veldt, by Ray Bradbury freaked me out as a kid to the point that I couldn't sleep with the book in my room.
A great deal of his stories, actually.
There's something to describing how creepy or scary something is: the experience of being scared, that creates it within me. However graphic descriptions generally do not.
One thing that creeped me the fuck out as an adult was "Tatoo" in Kraken.