Something horrific causes horror. It’s disastrous and makes you shudder with fear. Yikes!
If something horrific, like a deadly car crash, makes your hair stand up, you’re onto something. Horrific comes from the Latin word horrificus — which, if you trace it back, literally means “making the hair stand on end.” Anything horrific fills you with horror and makes you bristle. If you lose your hat, that’s a bummer. A serial killer’s rampage? That's horrific. Save horrific for things that are so scary your hair stands up, or feels like it is.