Feel The Chill: Creepy Carousels and Non-linear Sound

Photo by Mihai Vlasceanu on Pexels.com

They ate ravenously for a few minutes before Davy pointed toward the carousel in the middle of the food court. “That kid’s riding the dragon backward.”

Jazz glanced up at the fire-breathing figure, and her pulse quickened. “Why would they have something mythological with all those ordinary animals?”

Blossom started naming the creatures as they circled. “Horse. Camel. Elephant. Bear. Rabbit. Rabbit? Who rides a rabbit?”

Jazz wasn’t paying any attention. She scanned the nearby tables. The hair on her neck stood and crawled up her scalp.

From A Reason To Forget: Training Games

What Jazz experiences next pales in comparison to a creepy carousel.

Visualize this: It’s a warm summer day bathed in bright sunshine, and cheerful music floats about on the breeze like strands of spider silk. Your best friends giggle and drag you through the burgeoning crowd of fair-goers to the carousel, spinning on its never-ending journey to nowhere, lights flashing a multi-colored greeting. Delightful, right?

Let’s change the scenario. Drop the carousel into an open field at midnight, adjust the tune to bone-chilling minor keys, and eliminate All. Other. Humans. Step up, my friend. Pay your fare, and take your chances surrounded by wild-eyed stallions and the frozen screams of man-eating tigers, bears, and dragons.

Feel the chill?

Movie creators have perfected the art of horror by using our own biology against us. With audio, we humans react viscerally to non-linear sounds, such as the distress calls of wild animals or babies crying (Same thing?).

But the strategy doesn’t pack a real punch until it’s paired with an equally scary visual—knives glinting in the moonlight, shadows slipping into the trees, or a hand reaching to grab you. When theaters install seating that reacts tactilely with the audio, we experience even more heart-racing adrenaline. Not only do we see the carousel spinning out of control, but we also hear the tempo of the musical score increase and feel the tremendous vibrations threatening to toss us from the ride.

Oh, wait. We’re just sitting still. But our minds experience the entire scene as if we were right there in the moment. Ah, the magic of cinema.

Does anyone know the name for fear of carousels? Leave a comment.

Check out the short video I created below and Feel The Chill!

Feel The Chill: Creepy Carousels and Non-linear Sound by C. L. Giles
Created with Canva

Published by C. L. Giles

Author of the upper middle-grade/young adult novel, A Reason To Forget: Training Games, Book 1 in the Firestorm series.

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