Scary things that make people jump include visions of disfigurement, unusual frightening things that resemble everyday objects and crawling things that touch the skin, reports Psychology Today. Frightening occurrences often involve the suspense of anticipating dangers and not knowing when they are going to happen. Darkness and locations that potentially hide something scary exacerbate the fear.
Crawling animals such as spiders, snakes and rats touching people in the dark can amplify the fright that these creatures already convey, notes Psychology Today. When horror movies bestow evil powers upon common things such as clowns, dolls and children, people react with surprise and fear. The grotesque disfigurement of evil creatures such as zombies and Frankenstein's monster thrill and frighten audiences. Nightmarish creatures such as vampires, ghosts and demons shock people with their aesthetic and cognitive dissonance that violates the laws of nature, explains the Atlantic. Such creatures personify the relationship of humans with death.
Besides the darkness itself, people fear certain locations with evil ambiance, including attics, basements, dungeons, graveyards and old buildings, points out Psychology Today. They recognize these places as potential hiding places for evil things. In horror films, frightening music amplifies feelings of suspense and upcoming dark surprises. Sudden flashing lights and loud noises such as lightning and thunder also have the ability to shock audiences.