General Question

max's avatar

Why are creaking noises scary? Like In Ju-On the grudge?

Asked by max (95points) April 24th, 2008

If you watch this video (, you will hear at some point in the middle that there is a noise that sounds a bit like a creaking door. This noise frightens me. Why? The noise somehow makes me think of big scary insects.

I understand why the hiss sounds is scary, as it plays on our evolutionary fears of big cats, but what would make the door sound scary?

And it’s not because it reminds me of haunted houses – I never heard of those when I was growing up.

And it’s not the rattlesnake sound, as rattlesnakes are very limited geographically. But the rattlesnake does indeed incoorporate a similar sound into its defense mechanism.

Any ideas?

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9 Answers

wildflower's avatar

It could have something to do with the fact you’d only hear such a noise if its relatively quiet and it indicates movement, I.e. someone or something in the house…...and maybe you weren’t expecting there to be anyone but you…..?
Just a theory.

nikipedia's avatar

That’s a really interesting question. My guess is just that it’s been placed in the context of horror movies so much that we’ve come to associate the two. Do creaking doors still sound scary when you’re in a safe place, like your bedroom, and nothing scary is going on?

It would be interesting to see if infants or people who haven’t been socialized by horror movies think creaking is scary. If my theory is correct, they shouldn’t be bothered by it any more than they would be bothered by other high-pitched noises.

max's avatar

But what about people who never lived in houses? I believe this noise is primally scary, because it works across cultures. I’ve seen the same effect on an asian, european, american and african with that particular noise.

And I’m sure the rattlesnake never lived in an empty house…

wildflower's avatar

Umm…..I’m sure you didn’t mean it to come across that way, but we do have houses in Europe ;)

Zack_In_Black's avatar

Because late at night after you’ve watched a scary movie and your mom turns off the lights and goes upstairs, and you hear a creak from the floor while you’re alone, you start to think you’re not alone… I Am Legend.

Allie's avatar

Creaking noises make me think that there is someone there. Someone I don’t know. And it’s always worse when it’s dark…

peedub's avatar

I think it’s Old Dirty Bastard. I’ve heard him make the same noise on one of his albums.

Allie's avatar

ODB haunts me at night.

Beans4life's avatar

Well its not just the creaking noise thats scaring you. In the beginning of the video it has a high sound something like a violin. That steady sound is building stress and tension in your body. So when the boom comes in the odds that you are going to jump are very high at that point you are already scared or spooked to a level. When the creaking comes in that causes more stress and tension but this time it’s making you nervous. That’s why when I’m watching a scary movie when I hear a high pitched quiet steady sound in the back round I shake it off just like you would if you have been sitting taking a test for 2 1/2 hours. The shaking removes the tension and you are less nervous.

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