In our day to day lives we constantly come face to face with things which scare us. Sometimes we stand, frozen in place out of sheer terror; sometimes we simply avoid and walk away; and sometimes we grab the closest loved one to use as a human shield.
Fear is something we all deal with and, when writing, you need to find ways to engage a fear response within your audience. Be it the "jump scare," the "ominous mystery," or even the "pursuing monster/villain" there are plenty of ways to inject fear into a screenplay. Of course, some are more profoundly affective than others, we all know the jump scare is plenty played out, and so we draw upon our own experiences to find the right scare for the right moment.
Anyone who knows me knows I don't scare easily, in fact I rush head on into many dangerous situations because I've dealt with my fears, but when I think about something that scared me early on I remember a film called "Body Snatchers" from 1945. It's about a Doctor and his Student who purchase corpses of the recently deceased in order to experiment on them and then, or course, there's a murderer, but let's not focus on that.
Back in the days this was happening these men were seen as monsters, digging up poor grandma to do unspeakable things to. The film portrays this and shows the public outrage pertaining to a very real situation.
You might not be thinking this is too scary though, maybe you're more anxious about the murderer, so let me put it this way. Think about some ancestors of yours being dug up and experimented on, think of how you and your family would react to this atrocity. You would go to great lengths to make sure that this never happened again and, unknowingly, kill millions.
You heard me, kill millions. Those men who spent their nights elbow deep in cadavers are medical pioneers who discovered more from a single body than we had in years of blindly guessing about what happens inside us.
So, knowing that, would you let it happen? Would you be willing to let grandma be sliced open while you remain secure in the knowledge that medical science would be pushed ahead decades and save countless lives?
Now, which is scarier, knowing that you have become a monster you once despised or a simple murderer? Just something to think about.