What is Horror Films?

What is Horror Films?

Horror films are fictional stories that feature scary or fearful elements. They are a sub-genre of film that can be found in cinema, television, and video games.


They are typically characterized by a variety of cinematic techniques such as pacing, suspense, jump scares, gore, and a villain or monster that is beyond the audience’s control.



Horror films are movies that elicit responses of fear, terror, disgust, shock or suspense from their viewers. They are usually based on themes related to death, demons, the supernatural or other elements of dark fantasy. They may also be a form of commentary on social issues.


The origins of the horror genre can be traced back to literature and folklore, which sought to channel the power of fear and disgust into entertainment. These works of fiction have been around for centuries, and many still resonate with audiences today.


Early horror literature focused on stories involving occult ideas, such as Mary Shelly’s 1818 Gothic novel Frankenstein or Bram Stoker’s Dracula. These tales were often adapted to the screen, resulting in films that have become iconic to this day.


In the silent era, film directors used a variety of effects to scare audiences, including animated skeletons, ghosts, bats and even an incarnation of the devil. These effects were often created using a combination of special effects and practical sets.


As the movie industry developed and began to incorporate new technology, the genre of horror continued to grow in popularity. During this time, the genre was split into various sub-genres and hybrid variants, such as gothic horror, supernatural horror, monster movies, psychological horror and splatter films.


Psychological horror is a type of horror that involves a character who descends into madness, often causing death to those close to them. This genre was especially popular during the 1970s and 1980s, and was particularly influenced by Stephen King’s novels.


During this period, the popularity of slasher films rose as well. These movies were typically aimed at teens and featured serial killers who hunted them one by one with bladed weapons.


By the mid-1970s, occult themes had re-emerged in horror movies, with satanic forces causing harm and evil spirits coming to life in people’s homes. The 1970s was a key time in the evolution of this genre, and saw the release of The Exorcist (1973) and The Omen (1976).


Psychological horror was a dominant theme in the 1980s, and became increasingly popular in films like Scream and The Shining. These films often incorporated satanic elements into the story, and introduced a new type of “horror hero” to audiences.



There are many sub-genres of Horror films and each one has its own set of characteristics. There are also certain themes that seem to occur more often in some sub-genres than others.


Survival horror is a popular sub-genre of Horror movies. This is because this genre often focuses on the main character trying to survive a situation.


This can be a great way to add some action and tension into your Horror film. It can also make the movie more realistic and intense, which is what a lot of people enjoy about these kinds of films.


Folk horror is a sub-genre of Horror that relies on folklore or other legends as inspiration for its plot. These movies are usually set in a rural or secluded area, showing an often brutal clash between modern and primitive societies.


These movies are often based on pagan ideas and beliefs. They may be rooted in old myths, or they might be influenced by urban legends. This is a type of horror that has been around for centuries and has inspired many classics.


Slasher films are a popular sub-genre of Horror that features a psychopathic killer (sometimes with supernatural powers) that hunts down a group of people, usually teenagers. These movies are bloody and gruesome, and they often feature the infamous Final Girl trope.


Witches are another popular sub-genre of Horror that is influenced by magical beliefs. These movies can be quite scary, and there are a lot of different witches to choose from.


Demons are another sub-genre of Horror that can be very scary and frightful. This genre often includes haunted houses and possessions, and it can be very difficult to distinguish the difference between a demon and a ghost.


Zombies are another popular sub-genre of Horror. They are very similar to zombies in the sense that they can be a mutated form of humans, but they also differ from other types of monsters in that they tend to have supernatural origins.


These movies can be a real blast to watch, but they aren’t always the best. This is because they can be a little repetitive at times and don’t have much originality.



Horror films are a type of film genre that deals with dark subject matter, often dealing with transgressive topics or themes. Broad elements include monsters, apocalyptic events, and religious or folk beliefs.


Most horror movies involve an unsettling theme, bloody or shocking scenes, and unnerving characters or props. These are designed to elicit from their audiences emotions such as fright, terror, or disgust.


They also use foreshadowing and mystery to build up anticipation in the audience. This is accomplished by delivering little insights to the audience as they go along, until a big shocker hits at the end.


Another common characteristic of Horror films is that they often play up fear or suspense by using dark and disturbing shadows and a sense of foreboding. They may also show a character attempting to hide from the threat in order to keep the audience on their guard.


A good example of this is in the movie Saw (2004), where a sociopath captures several people and forces them to play his sadistic games. This gruesome concept would spawn a plethora of sequels and copycats, flooding the market and coining a new term for the excess of violence: torture porn.


The most successful Horror films are those that deal with a threat that is truly terrifying. This can be a real monster like Freddy Krueger or Chucky, or something more improbable, but the point is to inspire fear in the audience.


For a Horror film to be effective, it should contain 5 basic elements: Suspense, Fear, Violence, Gore and the Supernatural. These elements should all be present to create an ominous atmosphere of horror and terror.


In addition to these, Horror films should deal with supernatural beings or events, such as witchcraft, ghosts, spirits, demons, and apocalyptic events. These must be the central focus of the story, as they help separate it from thrillers that do not involve the supernatural.


While a good horror film should have its fair share of scary moments, it should be well-rounded and original. This is the best way to break away from cliches and make your film stand out from the rest.



Throughout history, horror has been used as a tool for entertainment and social commentary. During the late 1800s, it was introduced to cinema and has become one of the most popular genres of film ever.


The influence of horror on the cinematic genre has been significant, with several sub-genres and films blending it with other genres to create unique stories. Some are purely entertainment and others seek to comment on important social issues, such as national emergencies or psychological breakdowns of society.


Many of the themes and elements that have influenced Horror films have come from historical events. For example, the stock market crash of 1929 prompted filmmakers to make monster movies that were terrifying in nature and reliant on supernatural elements to scare audiences.


Occultism was also a large influence, with films like Rosemary’s Baby (1968) and The Exorcist (1973) tapping into ideas of the occult and demonic possession to make viewers think twice about their own beliefs. These themes are still present in Horror films today, with many relying on the idea of’satanic’ forces to drive their plots.


In the ’70s and ’80s, a new wave of Horror films was born. This era saw the first’slasher’ movies, which re-introduced the traditional horror theme of a group of teens being hunted down by a serial killer with bladed weapons.


This genre of Horror film was incredibly successful, and in the early 1980s, it became increasingly a staple in the mainstream cinema experience. These formulaic movies were often about a group of people who are murdered by an unknown villain with a knife, and the plots usually revolved around events that happened in the past.


Some studies have found that personality differences can be linked to preference for and enjoyment of horror films. For example, sensation seeking was correlated with preference for horror, but it did not predict whether a person enjoyed it or not (Greene and Krcmar, 2005).


Empathy has also been found to be associated with preference for and enjoyment of Horror films. For example, Hall and Bracken (2011) have shown that fantasy empathy is a strong predictor of narrative transportation, which is the experience of immersing yourself in a text or a film.