5 horror subgenres you need to know

August 3, 2017

Horror is such a broad genre. If you pick up two books labeled ‘horror’ they’ll likely be completely different — even if they’re next to each other on the library shelf. A lot of people don’t realize how many horror subgenres there are — though, as you’ll see, there’s plenty of overlap. Here are a few of the most popular ones.

slasher movies: This is what most people think of when they think horror. (And by “think” I mean “criticize”). Everyone knows the tropes: Stupid teenagers alone in the woods, drinking, partying, sleeping together…until a masked maniac enters with some sort of weapon and hacks them all to bits one by one. Few movies do it right anymore, but there are some classics out there.

supernatural horror: A lot of slashers, like A Nightmare on Elm Street, could also fall into this category. But it can encompass ghosts, demons, or any kind of otherworldly creature or scenario. 

realistic horror: Just what it sounds like. Real life monsters, like serial killers. Some people like this genre better because the villains are human, just like villains in the real world. Others prefer imaginary monsters to the legitimately disturbing real ones.

monsters: Murderous aliens stalking people on a futuristic spaceship? Werewolves and vampires increasing their ranks? If you have some otherworldly, non-humanoid creature stalking your characters, you just might have a monster movie.

found footage: This subgenere has been around for decades, but gained modern popularity with The Blair Witch Project in 1999. Some people criticize it because it’s so easy to make a bad one — and found footage movies are often full of moments that come across as boring. But when it’s done right, a found footage movie can create tension and suspense like no other movie.

What are your favorite horror subgenres?

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