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Quotes / Nothing Is Scarier

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    Comic Books 

On TV, I saw a movie about a monster. No. An alien. It was good. Scary. It taught me... the monster not seen is... scarier.

Yes, we... we heard a noise in the back. And to be honest, we both thought it was Peter. Because Peter uses the back entrance most of the time. But Ben called out to him... and he didn't answer. I right then -I don't know why- but right then I knew something was wrong. I knew that someone was in our house. I could - I could just tell by the kind of silence.
— Aunt May, Ultimate Spider-Man

    Fan Works 

Now you might be asking yourself why I'm not allowing you see who I am Lucius. If you think about it, I'm sure you will recall the power of the fear of the unknown, from your time hiding your face behind that white mask, all the while under the Imperius of course. You're frightened of me now, and will be even more frightened of me in the future. I've proven I can reach out and take you at anytime, no matter where you are, from your magnificent home to your private club.


    Film - Live-Action 

There's no earthly way of knowing
Which direction we are going
There's no knowing where we're rowing
Or which way the river's flowing
Is it raining? Is it snowing?
Is a hurricane a-blowing?
Not a speck of light is showing,
So the danger must be growing
Are the fires of hell a-glowing
Is the grisly reaper mowing?
YES! The danger must be growing,
For the rowers keep on rowing


Teal lifted the blind a few inches. He saw nothing, and raised it a little more — still nothing. Slowly he raised it until the window was fully exposed. They gazed out at — nothing. Nothing, nothing at all. What color is nothing? Don't be silly! What shape is it? Shape is an attribute of something. It had neither depth nor form. It had not even blackness. It was nothing.

Now, being prepared for almost anything, he was not, by any means, prepared for nothing; and, consequently, when the Bell struck One, and no shape appeared, he was taken with a violent fit of trembling.

It is the unknown we fear when we look upon death and darkness, nothing more.
Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter

There wasn't a living soul. He hated it when it was like this. It was like the bits in the film where you were waiting for the aliens to jump out.
Somehow, they were always more dreadful than the bits with the fangs in.

Before darkness fell, we caught sight of the Sea-Hound to starboard, and this glimpse was indescribably eerie - perhaps particularly because we only got a kind of general impression of the beast. In the darkness I imagined the rest, and that was worse still.

Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
"Sir," said I, "or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you" - here I opened wide the door; —
Darkness there, and nothing more.

"There is neither ghost of earl nor ghost of countess in that room, there is no ghost there at all; but worse, far worse."
"The worst of all the things that haunt poor mortal man," said I; "and that is, in all its nakedness - Fear! Fear that will not have light nor sound, that will not bear with reason, that deafens and darkens and overwhelms."

Watson: I ought to be more case-hardened after my Afghan experiences. I saw my own comrades hacked to pieces at Maiwand without losing my nerve.
Holmes: I can understand. There is a mystery about this which stimulates the imagination; where there is no imagination there is no horror.

Bear in mind closely that I did not see any actual visual horror at the end.
The Whisperer in Darkness, opening sentence

Magister Hickory: The Master has been playing with us for a full week now. Lights on and off, odd noises, awful smells. And that was a glimpse of the Beast.
Thornmallow: But I saw nothing.
Register Oakbend: Which is worse - seeing or not seeing?

That which is clearly known hath less terror than that which is but hinted at and guessed.

    Live-Action TV 

Do you know what the most frightening thing in the world is? Nothing.
Ethros Demon, Angel, "I've Got You Under My Skin"

Josh: Man, if she's gonna get us, I wish she would just get us... I-I can't take this stress!
Megan: I sat back quietly, all week long, watching. While the two of you were slowly eaten alive by your own fear. And that's the best revenge there is.
Drake & Josh, "Megan's Revenge"


Dark night nothing to see
Invisible hand in front of me
Scared to death there's someone near
Scared to move but you can't stay here...
Motörhead, "Iron Fist"

    Stand-Up Comedy 

The one thing worse than seeing a spider is not seeing a spider.


    Tabletop Games 
There's an experience worse than blindness—it's the certainty that your vision is perfect and the horror that there's no world around you to see.
Clinging Darkness's flavor text.


Harry: We were scared. It was like being lost: very young again, with the dark, and lost. There was no... thing... to be... frightened of, but...
Edna: WE WERE FRIGHTENED... and there was nothing.
A Delicate Balance

    Video Games 

Stephen King once wrote that "Nightmares exist outside of logic, and there's little fun to be had in explanations; they're antithetical to the poetry of fear." In a horror story the victim keeps asking "why?" But there can be no explanation, and there shouldn't be one. The unanswered mystery is what stays with us the longest and it's what we'll remember in the end.

Inside the mailbox is absolutely nothing.
Nothing after nothing came bursting out.
MOTHER 3, during the Mushroom Samba sequence.

But nobody came.
Undertale battle interface, during a "No Mercy" run as you clear an area of monsters

Real terror is not the sight of death. It is the fear of death. What is the fear of death? Terror of the unknown.

I have learned to fear nothing, although it is nothing that I most fear.
— Maximilian Roivas, Eternal Darkness

    Web Original 

Visitors report hearing their own blood begin to pump louder and louder and their muscles stretching and contracting within them. the experience is not entirely unlike that of being in an anechoic chamber, but having the sensation outside is beyond maddening.
Corin Deeth III, Kakos Industries

Mat: I was scared of some other games, but this is just pissing me off! He's taking all of the internet fame and stuff, and he doesn't even do anything! Slenderman is a slacker!
Pat: But you know what? That's the scariest thing about him! It's one of those things, where it's the ultimate show that your brain subconsciously comes up with the scariest things possible.

Then there's the kind [of horror] where the guy in the spooky mask isn't in the cupboard, but right behind you, and you just know he's gonna go "ABLOOGY WOOGY WOO!" at some point, but he doesn't, and you're getting more and more tense, but you don't want to turn around because he might stick his cock in your eye. That would be your Silent Hill 2. [...] You see, [this type] is best, because your imagination is doing all the work, all a good horror game needs to do is hand you a piece of sandpaper and shout encouragement as you vigorously massage your own undercarriage.

Matt: See, that's what horror games bring to the table: doing something with absolutely nothing.
Pat: Yeah, the absence of "thing" is what's scary.
Matt: The absence of a threat is the biggest threat.

    Western Animation 

You see that door? You wanna know what's behind that door? You don't wanna know what's behind that door. See those bones? Wanna know what made those bones? You don't wanna know what made those bones.

Bart: Hey, you know what would have been scarier than nothing?
Lisa: What?
The Simpsons' "Treehouse of Horror" retelling of The Raven

Sam: Is this WOOHP? I can't see anything...
Alex: (speaking quicker than normal) Have I mentioned how much I really don't like the dark? I'm not scared, it's just, you know, you never know what's gonna—
(Jerry turns on a flashlight, making the girls scream)
Jerry: Hello, girls.
Clover: JERRY! Ugh! You know what stress does to my skin!
Totally Spies!, "Aliens"


    Real Life 

That was done well in his film, and it is done with even more technical expertise here — but to what point? The more you see of a monster, the less you get. It is the unseen, the imagined, that scares you. (...) Think how little you ever really saw in the first Alien movie, and how frightening it was.

[The Blair Witch Project is] not great art, but it's proof that vague shapes and crackling twigs can be scarier than million-dollar FX - that nothing is scarier than nothing.
David Edelstein

There is no terror in the bang, only in the anticipation of it.

I believe in putting the horror in the mind of the audience, and not necessarily on the screen.

I was once asked what I thought was the most disquieting thing you could see on the screen and I said; An open door.

The theatre depends on being incomplete, because the thing that makes it complete is the person that witnesses it. [...] It is special, because every member of the audience is completing that image in their imagination, and at that point, it becomes more alive, more real than it could ever be if you tried to represent it directly, as you would in a film.

The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.
H. P. Lovecraft, "Supernatural Horror in Literature"

Nothing is so frightening as what's behind the closed door. You approach the door in the old, deserted house, and you hear something scratching at it. The audience holds its breath along with the protagonist as she/he (more often she) approaches that door. The protagonist throws it open, and there is a ten-foot-tall bug. The audience screams, but this particular scream has an oddly relieved sound to it. "A bug ten feet tall is pretty horrible," the audience thinks, "but I can deal with a ten-foot-tall bug. I was afraid it might be a hundred feet tall."
William F. Nolan, (as quoted in Danse Macabre by Stephen King)

The reason Alien was scary was it didn't have backstory. The reason Alien was scary is it was like an intersection of species, almost by accident. There is an alien, it is a parasite, it is eating its way through whichever is the next item on the menu. You start undoing that, you start giving it a reason to particularly attack humans, and it all falls apart.


Example of: