What is a psychological
Psychological horror is a subgenre of horror fiction that
relies on character's fears, guilt, beliefs, eerie sound
effects, relevant music and emotional instability to
build tension and further the plot. Psychological
horror is different from the type of horror found in
"splatter films"' which derive their effects from gore
and violence, and from the sub-genre of horror-of-
personality, in which the object of horror does not
look like a monstrous other, but rather a normal
human being, whose horrific identity is often not
revealed until well into the work, or even at the very
• Black Swan.
• Blair Witch Project.
• The Shining.
• The Others.
• The Silence of the lambs.
• The Sixth Sense.
Psychological horror tends to be subtle compared to traditional horror and
typically contains less physical harm, as it works it usually has
something to do with sexual health and relationships with women and
men mainly on the factors of mentally affecting the audience rather
than the display of graphic imagery seen in the slasher and splatter sub-
genres. It typically plays on archetypal shadow characteristics
embodied by the threat. It creates discomfort in the viewer by exposing
common or universal psychological vulnerabilities and fears, most
notably the shadowy parts of the human psyche which most people
repress or deny.
The menace in horror comes from within. It exposes the evil that hides
behind normality, while splatter fiction focuses on bizarre, alien evil to
which the average viewer cannot easily relate.
Stanley Kubrick’s adaption of Stephen King’s classic novel is in many ways
the archetypal psychological horror movie. Jack Nicholson is
mesmerising as writer-turned-hotel caretaker Jack Torrance and his
slow descent into madness is a deeply unsettling theme throughout the
movie. The tension slowly mounts as the movie progresses, climaxing in
the famous “Here’s Johnny!” scene that has been copied and parodied
over and over again. Despite the presence of supernatural phenomena
ranging from an Indian burial ground to ghosts, it’s ultimately
Nicholson’s Jack who is the real menace in The Shining.