In my opinion 'modern' horror could be seen as relying on eerie environments which are populated by creepy creatures such as zombies or possessed children and are often laden with shock moments. I think it's widely agreed that these elements alone don't suffice to achieve the desired effect, and in my case they're more likely to conjure feelings of adventure than fear.
'Victorian' horror, on the other hand, often lacks most of those elements. A good case study to exemplify this archetype may be the short story Monkey's Paw. The paw is an item which is capable of granting any three wishes, but it's cursed to grant each wish in the most malevolent way possible. By the time it became horribly clear how the third - unintentional - wish would be carried out I felt a chill down the spine, in what was possibly one of the tensest moments in my reading career.
How does one go about achieving this kind of effect in TDM? I'd begin with saying that creating a horror novella as a fan mission isn't such a good way, as it's prone to becoming linear and may feel more like an interactive storybook experience. I think this is more a matter of giving the feeling that something is very wrong about the place you're in. For example:
A ) In an isolated manor in the woods one could find a readable saying that several family members have gone missing in the woods, or one in which the son says that when he looks out of his window at night he sometimes catches the flash of a pair of eyes looking back at him. This may make a sudden loud noise coming from the ground floor sound considerably more threatening, as whatever was out there might now be in here.
B ) In Ominous Bequest I remember a scene where you descended in an elevator and caught a glimpse through a crack in the wall into the sealed off room, where you saw a noose and signs of a struggle. This made me feel both eager and tense to find out what came to pass in there.
C ) In the Broken Triad (semi-spoilers ahead), your realisation of who actually committed the horrible murders across town abruptly put everything into a disturbing light.
So, in view of these case studies and examples, I'd argue much of the tension in good horror results out of thought processes in the head, trying to work out the mysteries and what might possibly happen next, and only little out of what happens on the screen in terms of enemies, shocks etc. The latter does have its place in terms of creating authentic environments, but the real horror is in the mind.
What horror experiences really stood out for you? And what do you think made them have that effect?
Edited by Dragofer, 12 August 2018 - 12:27 PM.