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Quotes / Primal Fear

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Very softly down the glade runs a waiting, watching shade,
And the whisper spreads and widens far and near.

And the sweat is on thy brow, for he passes even now—
He is Fear, O Little Hunter, he is Fear!
— "The Song of the Little Hunter", Rudyard Kipling

I will show you fear in a handful of dust.

Anxiety when confronted by unknown life has not been sufficiently appreciated. The fears unleashed by contact with a new life form are not understood and cannot be entirely predicted in advance. But the most likely consequence of contact is absolute terror.
Norman Johnson, Sphere

The notion of the beauty and the beast is of course central to horror stories, but, watching The Silence of the Lambs for the second time, I began to wonder if the author of the original novel, Thomas Harris, had started the project by jotting down a list of the great universal phobias and dreads. Here is a movie involving not only cannibalism and the skinning of people, but also kidnapping, being trapped in the bottom of a well, decomposing corpses, large insects, being lost in the dark, being tracked by someone you cannot see, not being able to get people to believe you, creatures who jump from the shadows, people who know your deepest secrets, doors that slam shut behind you, beheadings, bizarre sexual perversions, and being a short woman in an elevator full of tall men.

A fear of heights is illogical. A fear of falling, that's rooted in evolution.

Fear isn't so difficult to understand. After all, weren't we all frightened as children? Nothing has changed since Little Red Riding Hood faced the big bad wolf. What frightens us today is exactly the same sort of thing that frightened us yesterday. It's just a different wolf. This fright complex is rooted in every individual.

We like to confuse fear and horror, but they're not the same thing. Human beings have only two inborn fears, fear of loud noises and fear of falling. Quite reasonable responsies to eons of life on the savannah, where noise meant danger and high tree branches were sanctuary. Fear's a survival instinct. It tells you when to run. H. P. Lovecraft said the essence of horror is to walk into your garden to find your roses are singing. Of course, Lovecraft was a prissy mama's boy and, me, I find the concept of singing roses kind of cool (if they're singing something good). But metaphorically he nailed it. Gardens of song? Not in the natural order.
...Fear's a survival instinct. It tells you when to run. Horror's when you realize there is nowhere to run.
Steven Grant, Afterword to Warren Ellis' Scars #5

The 3 types of fear:
The Gross-out: the sight of a severed head tumbling down a flight of stairs, it's when the lights go out and something green and slimy splatters against your arm.
The Horror: the unnatural, spiders the size of bears, the dead waking up and walking around, it's when the lights go out and something with claws grabs you by the arm.
And the last and worse one: Terror, when you come home and notice everything you own had been taken away and replaced by an exact substitute. It's when the lights go out and you feel something behind you, you hear it, you feel its breath against your ear, but when you turn around, there's nothing there...
Stephen King, Danse Macabre


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