Horror and terror
Terror is usually described as the feeling of dread and anticipation that precedes the horrifying experience. By contrast, horror is the feeling of revulsion that usually occurs after something frightening is seen, heard, or otherwise experienced. It is the feeling one gets after coming to an awful realization or experiencing a deeply unpleasant occurrence.
In other words, horror is more related to being shocked or scared (being horrified), while terror is more related to being anxious or fearful. Horror has also been defined as a combination of terror and revulsion.
The distinction between terror and horror was first characterized by the Gothic writer Ann Radcliffe (1764–1823). Terror is characterized by "obscurity" or indeterminacy in its treatment of potentially horrible events; it is this indeterminacy which leads to the sublime.
She says in the essay that it "expands the soul and awakens the faculties to a high degree of life". Horror, in contrast, "freezes and nearly annihilates them" with its unambiguous displays of atrocity. She goes on: "I apprehend that neither Shakespeare nor Milton by their fictions, nor Mr Burke by his reasoning, anywhere looked to positive horror as a source of the sublime, though they all agree that terror is a very high one; and where lies the great difference between horror and terror, but in uncertainty and obscurity, that accompany the first, respecting the dreader evil."
Modern definition 
G. Richard Thompson: “The Gothic romance seeks to create an atmosphere of dread by combining terror with horror and mystery. Terror suggests the frenzy of physical and mental fear of pain, dismemberment, and death. Horror suggests the perception of something evil or morally repellent. Mystery suggests something beyond this, the perception of a world that stretches away beyond the range of human intelligence – often morally incomprehensible – and thereby productive of a nameless apprehension that may be called religious dread in the face of the wholly other. When in Gothic literature this sense of mystery is joined with terror or horror, the effects of each expand beyond ordinary fear or repugnance.”
Linda Bayer-Berenbaum: ”Both involve fear and repulsion, but terror is more immediate, more emotional, and less intellectual. You may be horrified by what your friend tells you but terrified by what you see yourself. Terror is more potent and stimulating and thus the more Gothic emotion.”
Terry Heller: “Terror is the fear that harm will come to oneself. Horror is the emotion one feels in anticipating and witnessing harm coming to others for whom one cares.”
Peter Penzold: “I consider as pure tales of horror all those stories whose main motifs inspire physical repulsion, as opposed to what Blackwood calls ‘spiritual terror’. The feeling these horror tales produce is one of loathing and disgust, rather than true terror and awe.”
Devendra P. Varma: “Terror creates an intangible atmosphere of spiritual psychic dread, a certain superstitions shudder at the other world. Horror resorts to a ruder presentation of the macabre: by an exact portrayal of the physically horrible and revolving, against a far more terrible background of spiritual gloom and despair. Horror appeals to sheer dread and repulsion, by brooding upon the gloomy and the sinister, and lacerates the nerves by establishing actual cutaneous contact with the supernatural.”
Robert L. Platzner: “Terror is not merely a syndrome of delusions, but rather the subjective mirroring of an objective state. Reality is alien, menacing, whether the footsteps heard upon the secret passageway be real or imaginary. It is the discovery that evil is constitutive of reality, that it can never be reduced to a hallucinatory fantasy or to a form of social pathology that renders the Gothic Romance so ultimately sinister–even lurid.”
Barton Levi St. Armand: That feeling of ‘awe’ which traditionally accompanies intimations of the sublime, links terror with experiences that are basically religious in nature. Horror is equally annihilating, but from a dramatically different direction. Horror overtakes the soul from the inside; consciousness shrinks or withers form within, and the self is not flung into the exterior ocean of awe but sinks in its own bloodstream, choked by the alien salts of its inescapable prevertebrate heritage.”
Philip Van Doren Stern: “Horror and fear, although of the same family and often mistaken for each other, are not identical. Unlike fear, which can be of long duration, horror is necessarily climactic in effect. The mind can stand only so much, then its protecting agencies quickly come to their rescue and benumb the nerves. Thus it will be seen that horror transcends fear and is even more powerful. The word has been used too loosely. There is no horror, for instance, about a corpse, no matter how unpleasant it may look. Nothing substantial can be truly horrible; it may, by some odd quirk of association, inspire horror, but horror itself can be found only within ourselves. It is rooted in the imagination rather than in anything in the external world.”
Stephen King 
In his non-fiction book Danse Macabre, Stephen King elaborated on the themes of terror and horror, also adding a third element which he referred to as "revulsion." He describes terror as “the finest element” of the three, and the one he strives hardest to maintain in his own writing. Citing many examples, he defines “terror” as the suspenseful moment in horror before the actual monster is revealed. “Horror,” King writes, is that moment at which one sees the creature/aberration that causes the terror or suspense, a "shock value." King finally compares “revulsion” with the gag-reflex, a bottom-level, cheap gimmick which he admits he often resorts to in his own fiction if necessary, confessing:
“I recognize terror as the finest emotion and so I will try to terrorize the reader. But if I find that I cannot terrify, I will try to horrify, and if I find that I cannot horrify, I'll go for the gross-out. I'm not proud.”
He also states the difference between horror and terror:
“The Horror: the unnatural, spiders the size of bears, the dead waking up and walking around, it's when the lights go out and something with claws grabs you by the arm. And the last and worse one: Terror, when you come home and notice everything you own had been taken away and replaced by an exact substitute. It's when the lights go out and you feel something behind you, you hear it, you feel its breath against your ear, but when you turn around, there's nothing there...” 
Distinction between terror and horror 
Terror is an emotion that a person gets when they are in an immediate fear. There is a feeling of revulsion that is absent in terror. Terror is provoked by danger and menace, as when someone suddenly find them self in a jungle in front of a tiger. Terror is the feeling that is experienced by people confronted with terrorists, robbers and murderers. Terror activates the sympathetic nervous system and prepares the body for a fight-or-flight response response.
On the other hand, horror evokes a feeling of disgust and is more disturbing and psychological in nature. With a feeling of horror, a person may have nausea or a revulsion, as one might feel when they see something bizarre and horrifying, such as worms inside wounds of an organism, facing a deadly animal and their phobia, and even the supernatural.
Definitively speaking, terror would bring panic, an overwhelming feeling of fear and anxiety to the person (bomb threats, death threat, being held hostage, and, enduring natural disasters and terrorism). Whilst horror gives a person an overwhelming and rather painful feeling caused by something frightfully shocking, terrifying, or revolting (corpses, zombies, grotesque images)
Similarities and differences 
- Both terror and horror are human emotions that evoke different responses.
- Terror relates with extreme fear and anxiety whereas horror more relates with revulsion.
- A person feel horrified when they witness something very disturbing or unpleasing.
- A person feels terrified when under an imminent danger.
Horror and terror in film 
Horror is also a genre of film and fiction that relies on horrifying images or situations to tell stories and prompt reactions in their audiences. In these films the moment of horrifying revelation is usually preceded by a terrifying build up, often using the medium of scary music.
Horror and terror stem mainly from movies and literature. To increase horrific feelings in the audience, plots often involve the supernatural, disease/virus outbreak, and surrealism. Horror is considered horror when there is an over the top amount of bloodshed/gore and supernatural outbreak, whereas thriller is considered to be more along the route of mind games, exemplified by the feeling of nervousness as a character is walking down a dark alley, which makes it terrorizing rather than horrific.
In other words, terror is more realistic and is usually seen in thrillers (such as stories involving an earthquake, terrorist attack, murderers), and horror is kind of more disturbing, morbid, supernatural or more psychological (zombie outbreak, ghosts, unstoppable masked or supernatural killers, etc).
See also 
- Radcliffe 1826; Varma 1966; Crawford 1986: 101-3; Bruhm 1994: 37; Wright 2007: 35-56.
- Varma 1966.
- Radcliffe: 1826.
- Wisker 2005.
- Steven Bruhm (1994) Gothic Bodies: The Politics of Pain in Romantic Fiction. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
- Gary Crawford (1986) "Criticism" in J. Sullivan (ed) The Penguin Encyclopedia of Horror and the Supernatural.
- Ann Radcliffe (1826) "On the Supernatural in Poetry" in The New Monthly Magazine 7, 1826, pp 145–52.
- Devendra Varma (1966) The Gothic Flame. New York: Russell and Russell.
- Gina Wisker (2005) Horror Fiction: An Introduction. New York: Continuum.
- Angela Wright (2007) Gothic Fiction. Basingstoke: Palgrave.
- Julian Hanich (2010) Cinematic Emotion in Horror Films and Thrillers. The Aesthetic Paradox of Pleasurable Fear. New York: Routledge.