On PlayDevil is an interesting feature about the "future of survival horror as a genre".
Here's a snip from the article:
"The first time one of the rabid dogs jumped out at me in the halls of the mansion in RE1, I wet myself. They were fast, the event was unexpected, and Jill was a feminine character who carried a pathetically weak pistol who also had less than a full clip. It didn't matter that the dog was made of about five polygons, it made me jump out my seat.
Playing the GC remake a few years ago, with the awesome graphical upgrade, even though I was expecting it, the sheer shock and the massive graphical upgrade still made me jump.
Additionally, the fact that you still had very limited ammo made the choice between fight or flight far more pressing. These dogs were fast though, and could pin you to the ground, tearing away at your throat, so the choice to run always made you sweat just as much, as you'd never know if the snarling, bloody dogs would catch up to you and eat your face off just as you were about to open a door."