Horror films have long been a captivating genre that evokes a range of emotions, from suspense and fear to excitement and adrenaline. Whether you enjoy the thrill of a jump scare or the psychological intensity of a suspenseful storyline, there’s a horror subgenre to suit every taste. In this blog post, I’ll explore five types of horror films that have left a lasting impact on audiences, offering a diverse range of scares and chilling experiences.
1. Supernatural Horror
Supernatural horror films tap into our deepest fears of the unknown and the paranormal. These films often feature ghosts, demons, witches, or other supernatural entities that haunt characters and challenge their sanity. With eerie atmospheres, spine-chilling visuals, and unexpected twists, supernatural horror films create a sense of unease that lingers long after the credits roll. Examples include classics like “The Exorcist” and contemporary favorites like “The Conjuring” series or “Hereditary”.They tend to be the ones using and, many times, abusing jump scares as a medium to deliver the horror – well, not “Hereditary” – this one is so nuanced, that it would fit very well in the next category.
2. Psychological Horror
Psychological horror films delve into the darkest corners of the human mind, focusing on psychological torment, distorted perceptions, and internal struggles. Instead of relying on gory visuals, these films play with the viewer’s psyche, building tension through suspenseful storytelling and mind-bending narratives. Movies like “Psycho” and “Black Swan” showcase the power of psychological horror, leaving audiences questioning their own perceptions and unraveling the intricate layers of the human psyche. “Midsommar” is a great example as well, as would be “Under the Skin” and “The Lighthouse” – the latter without any particularly gruesome on display, but with a strong sense of alienation from the rest of the world, coming via the setting, the colours, the sounds and the interactions between the two main characters. These tend to be more ‘cultured’ than the jumpscare fests, with longer build-ups and a much slower tension that builds under your skin.
3. Slasher Horror
Slasher horror films are synonymous with masked killers, brutal violence, and a high body count. These movies often feature a relentless, knife-wielding antagonist who stalks and brutally murders a group of unsuspecting victims. While the focus is on gore and graphic violence, slasher films also provide a thrilling cat-and-mouse dynamic that keeps audiences on the edge of their seats. Iconic franchises like “Halloween,” “Friday the 13th,” “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” “Evil Dead,” and “A Nightmare on Elm Street” popularized the slasher subgenre. These tend to use jump scares similarly to the supernatural horror type, but the main emphasis is the blood and gore that results from the interactions with the source of horror.
4. Creature Features
Creature features bring monstrous creatures to life, instilling a sense of awe and terror in viewers. From giant beasts and vampires to zombies and werewolves, these films capitalize on our primal fear of the unknown and the grotesque. Creature features blend elements of horror, suspense, and action, often delivering thrilling chase sequences and intense confrontations between humans and the monstrous entities. Examples include “Jaws,” “Alien,” “The Thing,” and the first “Cloverfield.” Especially the latter is a great example of how we can be made to fear something large and predictable, especially when its source and essence is an unknown. And it would also fit perfectly in the next category.
5. Found Footage Horror
Found footage horror films offer a unique and immersive viewing experience by presenting the story as if it were real-life footage discovered after a horrifying event. Shot through handheld cameras or other recording devices, these movies create a sense of realism and immediacy, drawing audiences into the terrifying events unfolding on screen. Films like “Paranormal Activity” and “The Blair Witch Project” utilise this technique to heighten the tension and make viewers feel like active participants in the horror. Another great shout is the excellent Taiwanese film that you can find on Netflix, “Incantation”. I generally see these as a mix of jump scares and more psychological tension building, whereas the low quality of the image or poor angles make you constantly question what you are seeing.
Horror films encompass a wide range of subgenres, each catering to different fears and preferences. Whether you enjoy supernatural encounters, psychological thrills, slashers, creature features, or the immersive found footage style, there’s a horror film out there to satisfy your appetite for scares. These films have the power to elicit visceral reactions, provoke thought, and tap into our deepest fears and anxieties. So, grab some popcorn, turn off the lights, and prepare for an adrenaline-fueled cinematic experience that will keep you on the edge of your seat.