What’s more scary? A decaying structure with an overgrown lawn and overlaying ominous clouds or a cookie cutter house in the middle of a suburban neighborhood? Personally, I think the safe-for-the-kids option should be the one people worry about but choice number one would always prove to be the winner in this showdown. However, movies like Poltergeist made living in the suburbs a terrifying ride all on its own.
The setting can make a good horror story even better. Isolation s a favorite among writers. Place characters in a small town in the boondocks and watch them try to survive in an environment they are unfamiliar with. Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Wrong Turn and even The Hills Have Eyes play on this concept.The use of normal to influence the abnormal can provide a nice chilling effect.
The use of reality-based settings gives the story credibility with readers. It gives them something to relate to. A bond is formed. Dark, empty alleys and torture dungeons in the basement adds to the nastiness of horror. Such elements and discoveries informs the readers they are in for the wild ride. Statements like “That could really happen” really rounds out the end of said ride. It gives the writer a sense of accomplishment.
What is your favorite horror environment?