Whether you watch horror movies because you love to be scared, appreciate the F/X, or like to shout back at the screen, there are plenty of great elements in horror movie sub-genres to discover. Although the list is extensive, the following are a few of our favorites.
Ghosts, demons, haunted houses, the fun never ends! From that little red ball that taunts George C. Scott in The Changeling to the triple whammy of terror (clown doll, house atop cemetery, and baaad spirits) that upends the Freelings in Poltergeist, paranormal films are the mainstay of the genre. They tap into our inner fears, curiosity about death, a possible afterlife, and the metaphysical discussions of what constitutes good and evil. Plus, there’s something delicious about propping a Living Dead Doll up on your bed, or leaving a ouija board out on the coffee table, and perhaps seeing what happens….
Maybe it’s a way to de-stress, or maybe it’s that damn music set to kill scenes (Michael Myers, we’re looking at you). There are a whole lot of subtexts going on in slasher films and plenty of occasions that seem to spark homicidal urges (April Fools’ Day, Happy Birthday to Me, A Christmas Horror Story, and My Bloody Valentine). Still we adore them, with a Mr. Potato Head Jason Voorhees or a Pop! Funko Leatherface to greet our desk, or by using a Freddy Krueger glove as a towel holder.
Psychological horror slithers into your brain, and leaves things that haunts your dreams or occupies your mind during commutes. It’s Annie Wilkes’ actions in Misery, the creepy demon rabbit in Donnie Darko, and Tim Robbins’ turmoil in Jacob’s Ladder. Or it’s the Forevermore dolls, which are disquieting, yet also creepily beautiful.
Zombie films are one of those broad horror movie sub-genres, ranging from quirky Cooties, to apocalyptic It Stains the Sands Red, to based-on-a-true-story Serpent and the Rainbow. And then of course, there’s the walking dead sagas from genius George A. Romero. Props such as sleep masks, cooking molds, and magnets allow us to indulge that fondness, without actually having to munch on cerebral matter.
Between An American Werewolf in London, Jeffrey Combs’ incomparable Re-Animator, and Cabin Fever, it’s sometimes easy to forget you’re watching a scary film. It can be tricky balancing chills and laughs, but Tucker & Dale vs. Evil, Killer Klowns from Outer Space, and Housebound prove it can be done.
What are your favorite horror movie sub-genres? Tell us in the comments section below!