The horror film excels at anticipation. An effective poster, trailer, or TV ad can spur our imaginations into a fearful run. Watching the actual movie might feel tame compared to the upcoming horrors we saw advertised. Present fears are less than horrible imaginings. It’s the movies we haven’t seen yet that often scare us most.
I remember a TV commercial that ran for John Frankenheimer’s Prophecy (1979), about a killer bear mutated by hazardous waste. We never see the monster, but its hideous noisemaking awakens a family of sleeping campers. The son hops up and down in his sleeping bag trying to get away. He’s panicked and helpless—too terrified to know how silly he looks. The commercial scared the hell out of me. You’ll never catch me sleeping in one of those mummy bags!
So, tell me what movie ad frightened you?