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By Noelle Buffam · March 26, 2011

Horror film is a genre that aims to create a sense of fear, panic, alarm, and dread for the audience. These films are often unsettling and rely on scaring the audience through a portrayal of their worst fears and nightmares. Horror films usually center on the arrival of an evil force, person, or event. Many Horror films include mythical creatures such as ghosts, vampires, and zombies. Traditionally, Horror films incorporate a large amount of violence and gore into the plot. Though it has its own style, Horror film often overlaps into Fantasy, Thriller, and Science-Fiction genres.

Examples of Horror Film:

A Nightmare on Elm Street Freddy Krueger, an evil being from another world, stalks a group of teenagers and kills them through their dreams.

Saw Two men are held hostage by a psychopath, who is set on teaching his victims the value of life by putting them into demented life or death games.

Friday the 13th While trying to re-open a summer camp, a group of camp counselors are mysteriously murdered by a machete swinging slasher.

Sub-genres of Horror:


Comedy-Horror combines comedy with traditional horror movie themes and characters. Because of the subject matter, Comedy-Horror films can cross over into the Black Comedy sub-genre. Comedy-Horror films aim to scare the audience, but also provide comical outlets that let the audience laugh at their fear.

Examples: Beetlejuice, Zombieland, Shaun of the Dead.


Teen-Horror is a sub-genre that revolves completely around a teenager or a group of teenagers. Typically, these movies have a large cast and a clear hero or heroine. Teen-Horror films often play upon traditional teenage issues, such as dating and prom, and turn them into suspenseful and thrilling situations.

Examples: I Know What You Did Last Summer, Scream, Texas Chainsaw Massacre.


A Monster film is sub-genre of Horror that centers on a struggle between human beings and a monster(s). Often, the monster in the film has been created in an “experiment gone wrong.” The monster usually serves as a villain, and the film portrays a hero or heroine that ultimately saves the world from the monster. Although these movies commonly fall into the Horror genre, Monster films have a long tradition within Science-Fiction and Fantasy film as well.

Examples: Aliens, Godzilla, Creature from the Black Lagoon.


Slasher film is a sub-genre of Horror film that revolves around a psychopathic killer. This killer stalks and murders his victims in extremely violent and memorable ways. Though it centers on a specific killer, the violence is what sets Slasher films apart from other horror films. A Slasher film will devote more screen time to portray murder and mayhem than a traditional Horror film.

Examples: Halloween, My Bloody Valentine, Black Christmas.


Supernatural-Horror film is a sub-genre that includes ghosts, demons, or other depictions of supernatural occurrences. Often, Supernatural-Horror films combine elements of religion into the plot. Common themes in Supernatural-Horror films include the afterlife, the devil, and demonic possession. Unlike Religious Thrillers, Supernatural-Horror films are not limited to specific religious elements and can contain more vivid and gruesome violence.

Examples: The Exorcist, The Ring, The Omen.


Zombie film is a sub-genre of Horror film that portrays mindless human beings who are raised from the dead. These films often include a Zombie invasion, and center around Zombies feasting on human flesh. The plot of a Zombie film then revolves around the struggle between the living, and the living-dead. Zombie film not only falls into the Horror genre, but Sci-Fi, Thriller, and Comedy as well.

Examples: Night of the Living Dead, Shaun of the Dead, 28 Days Later.