This post first appeared on Quora January 25, 2020.
It completely depends on what the individual finds frightening. If paranormal scares them, then that will be most frightening. If torture scares them more than psychological horror, then they’ll find that more frightening.
Personally I think that psychological horror is more frightening because it applies to every aspect of any horror genre. You cannot escape your own thoughts about any given situation, whether the threat is paranormal, a torture chamber, or a stalker. Those thoughts about the situation can lead to your own undoing.
Nothing is more frightening than the demons of one’s own mind, or your own mind turning against itself. Watching that unfold is the stuff I love to watch, especially if it’s wrapped up in a good story.