"What makes a monster scary" is a question that demands we look at a lot of different stuff. We have to look at cultural values, we have to look at some really primal evolutionary psychology (like... big eyeballs and mouths, "stealthiness" and stalking behavior, unpredictability), we have to look at innate revulsions like the revulsions to rot, disease, excrement - a scary monster pushes a lot of different buttons in a person.
One of those buttons that I have not seen mentioned in this thread: motive. What does a person infer about a monster's motives?
Think about the following examples:
-a hideous person, especially a hideous woman (or an old, antisocial woman - think about witches)
-a person who seems "false" and smiles too much, makes too much eye contact
-a diseased dog, stumbling around, drooling
-the vengeful ghost of a murdered woman
-an obsessive drunk who's been the laughingstock of the village for years, pacing around muttering and fuming
-a single mother who goes insane in her cabin one winter, and is discovered eating her children and cradling their remains
we can infer dangerous motives, or unpredictable motives. We sense a mind that cannot be reasoned with, or a mind poisoned against us, or one warped by bitterness. In some cases we can sense a capacity to obsess, to devote creativity and willpower towards ill ends - think of Hannibal Lecter.
A hideous person might, for example, struggle to find acceptance, and grow to despise society. In their loneliness they might ruminate on these feelings in private, obsessing. Yesterday those wretched children laughed and threw mud. We can imagine this person constructing a closet shrine to the beautiful girl of the village, or leaving slaughtered pets on doorsteps.
Imagine an alien aboard a spaceship, one that moves silently, clings to ceilings, and has huge circular eyes that never blink. Imagine the alien has a mouth it never closes. Imagine it slinking across the ceiling towards a person - its whole body tense - like a tiger in the grass, or an anglerfish slowly opening its jaws as its prey swims close. The person is showering, crying about something, oblivious to the uncomprehending, cold-blooded predator mere feet away.
You find an abandoned shack in the woods and hear weird, guttural weeping inside. Cans and bottles dangle from tree branches around the shack, flies buzz. Something smells. You seePost too long. Click here to view the full text.