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HORROR
SUBGENRES
There are numerous
subgenres within the
horror genre.
These include:
1. slasher
2. supernatural
3. gothic
4. psychological
5. possession
SUBGENRES
These subgenres have been more and more prominent in
recent years and have allowed the genre of ‘horror’ to
expand in both size and both popularity. As society has
changed over the years, audiences have demanded more
from the limited amount of horror that was available to
them – they began to tire of the recurring conventions
and storylines and demanded new ways to be terrified.
This was especially prominent after the 60s, where
society underwent huge changes and incorporated
radical new ideas, and the usual constraints on what
could be classified as a ‘horror’ were weakened.
Ultimately, this led to the emergence of subgenres such
as....
SLASHER
‘Slasher’ movies were one of
the first subgenres to emerge in
the ‘Golden Age’ of horror.
Although slasher films were in
production and released in the
previous decade, they began to
achieve mainstream popularity
in the 1970s, largely due to the
films Halloween and Friday the
13th. Whereas previous horrors
focused on events happening in
the distant past, with creatures
and mutated humans serving as
the antagonists, slasher films
took place in the present day,
with real humans serving as the
psychopathic killers. By using
locations audiences were
familiar with – such as
suburban neighbourhoods, or
isolated cabins in the woods – the
films played on their domestic
fears by making the horror
depicted in the movie actually
seem possible. Indeed, some
slashers were released as a
warning to audiences about the
dangers of casual sex, which was
becoming hugely popular after the
era of the sexual revolution in the
60s. This further played on the
audiences fears, as those who were
the most unruly or ‘wild’ in the
films, were often the ones to be
killed first, in the most graphic of
ways. Furthermore, slasher
movies were the first mainstream
films to feature strong scenes of
gore and violence.
CASE
STUDY
H
A
L
L
O
W
E
E
N
CONVENTIONS IN A
TYPICAL SLASHER
1. A group of naive teenagers interested in
only sex and being disorderly, with one
member of the group who serves as the
intelligent virgin, the antithesis of her
friends. She will survive to the end.
2. The killer is masked, with a signature
weapon at hand, and seemingly has no
conscience.
3. The film is set in an isolated location,
often away from any help, which the
killer uses to pick off the characters one
by one.
4. Final cat and mouse chase with the
killer, with an unresolved ending.
ARE THEY IN
HALLOWEEN?
Yes – Laurie Strode is the
hardworking, virgin teenager
who manages to survive while
each of her friends –some who
are engaging in sexual activities
– are brutally murdered.
Yes – Michael Myers carries a
knife at all times and wears a
stolen Halloween mask. He kills
without mercy.
No – Although the action takes
place at night, it is in a
suburban neighbourhood, with
surrounding neighbours and
the police attempting to help.
Yes – Although believed to be
dead, Myers is still out there.
SUPERNATURAL
Towards the end of the 1970s, audiences were being
presented with more and more supernatural films.
Although the concept of the supernatural had been
prominent since the very first horror films – such as the
vampiric antagonist in Nosferatu – these new
supernatural films moved the horror closer to home. At
the time, many noted authors such as Stephen King
were playing with readers’ perception of reality, forcing
them to find terror in everyday experiences that may
have whole other meanings. Supernatural horrors such
as The Thing and The Fog brought forward a new type
of supernatural horror, where the threats seemed very
real, especially due to the emergence of realistic special
effects at the time. Filmmakers began to realise that
perhaps the greatest fear is the fear of the unknown,
and therefore used these films to make the unknown a
part of audiences lives, designed to scare them for days
after the film had finished. Poltergeists, ghouls, demons
– the quality of these supernatural films made them
real to the audience.
Case study
T
H
E
S
I
X
T
H
CONVENTIONS IN A TYPICAL
SUPERNATURAL
ARE THEY IN THE
SIXTH SENSE?
1. A family moving into a new house/area, where the
majority of the film will take place.
2. The supernatural presence reveals itself to one of
the characters early in the film, and none/few of the
characters believe him until the very end, where it is
too late.
3. Otherwordly creatures, such as ghosts, phantoms,
or demons, will appear, but are often misunderstood.
4. There is likely to be a twist at the ending, where the
threat is seemingly vanquished but returns in some
way or another.
No – the action takes place over a
varietyof locations, andis not
triggered by the arrival of a newarea
Yes– Coleis plagued by these visions
throughout the film, but everyone
except his psychologist believehe is
delusional until the end, when the
twist has already beenrevealed.
Yes– As Cole can communicatewith
the dead,manyghostscan be seen,
although theyare not all threats.
Yes- the filmis celebrated for its final
twist, which changes the life of his
psychologist forever.
PSYCHOLOGICAL
Towards the end of the 1980s, audiences began to tire of the same old formula of death, gore, and hauntings, and
began to demand a new, intelligent kind of horror movie – one that would intellectually stimulate them, as well as
terrify them. In general, the quality of films were starting to improve, with more thoughtful blockbusters being
made, and a greater amount of philosophical content being injected into films. Horror filmmakers realised that they
needed to match this demand for more, and with the release of films such as the silence of the lambs in the early
1990s, audiences were hooked on a new kind of horror – the one that takes place inside your own head. These films
proved that humans were perhaps the biggest monsters of all, and used an entirely new set of conventions to
provide the audience with unexpected twists, thrills, and scares.
CASE
STUDY
T
H
E
S
H
I
N
I
N
G
Conventions in a typical psychological
1. There are a variety of complex characters; each
grappling with their own personal issues and
contributing heavily towards the plot.
2. The killer appears to be like everyone else but is
mentally deranged, and there is often a motive behind
his killings.
3. A variety of plot twists, red herrings, and false
suspects will be utilised throughout the film, before a
final scene where the killer is either removed or kills
everyone.
4. Flashbacks and glimpses into the past allow the
audience to decipher why the killer is the way he is.
5. The police/outside authorities often become
involved, but are usually either disbelieving, useless, or
killed off.
6. Isolated locations are used so the focus can remain
solely on the killer, with elements of mystery and
deception regularly recurring throughout the plotline
In the shining
1. Yes- the son of the killer is gifted
with supernatural abilities, and so
does the chef.
2. Yes – The hotel ghosts prompt
him to kill his family as he begins
to lose his mind.
3. Yes/no – Due to the limited
number of characters, there are no
false suspects or twists, but the
killer is eventually frozen in a final
cat-and-mouse chase.
4. No – the killer is driven mad by
the forces working within the hotel,
and the isolation he experiences.
5. Yes – The police cannot come to
help, as the roads are blocked, and
the chef who returns is brutally
murdered with an axe.
6. Yes – the entirety of the film
takes place in an isolated hotel. As
the characters explore this hotel,
they find details of the past
traumas that have occurred there.
GOTHIC
Gothic wasfirstintroducedin the 1930sand20sas itprovided aharshcontrasttothe realitythatmostpeople
ofthe timewereexperiencing –withvampires,ghouls andmonstersservingas themain antagonists.However, as
the fearsof societybegan toevolve, the popularityofthe subgenre begantodecline until theend ofthe century,
when Hammer Film Productions– knownforproducingsomeofthe mostwell-knownGothichorrorsofall time
–waspurchasedandrekindledasa majorcompetitorin theproductionofhorrormovies. Since then,films such as
SleepyHollow andThe Womanin Blackhavetakenviewers backtoVictoriantimes,intodarkness,hauntings, and
monsters.Gothichorrorsoftenbasetheirplotlinesandantagonistson mythsandlegends ofvaryingdegrees of
notoriety,attemptingtousechildhoodfearstotrulyterrifytheir audience.
CASE
STUDY
T
h
e
W
o
m
a
n
I
n
B
l
a
c
k
CONVENTIONS OF A TYPICAL
GOTHIC
1. The antagonist is usually a
creature/supernatural entity derived from
an old legend orfolk tale.
2. The characters within the film often dress
extravagantly, with clothes fromthe
Victorian era being apopular choice of
costume.
3. The atmosphere is consistently dark/grey
andoften scenes of lightning orheavy fog
areused togivethe film an eerie feel.
4. There is a way tobanish the evil, whether
it is an ancient weapon or spell.
5. Haunted houses, castles, villages –
seemingly abandoned.
IN THE WOMAN IN
BLACK
1. Yes – the woman in black is a common tale
in the local village, and many trytoavoid
where she used tolive.
2. Yes – the main character is shown in the
Victorian attireofa waistcoat andlong black
coat throughout the film.
3. Yes – the house, where the majorityof the
films scares take place, is consistently bathed
in an all-consuming fog, andmany of the
scenes arefilmed at night.
4. Yes/no – the woman is appeased by the
return of her lost child, but notbanished.
5. Yes – the majorityof the film takes place
inside ahaunted house.

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Horror and subgenres

  • 2. There are numerous subgenres within the horror genre. These include: 1. slasher 2. supernatural 3. gothic 4. psychological 5. possession
  • 3. SUBGENRES These subgenres have been more and more prominent in recent years and have allowed the genre of ‘horror’ to expand in both size and both popularity. As society has changed over the years, audiences have demanded more from the limited amount of horror that was available to them – they began to tire of the recurring conventions and storylines and demanded new ways to be terrified. This was especially prominent after the 60s, where society underwent huge changes and incorporated radical new ideas, and the usual constraints on what could be classified as a ‘horror’ were weakened. Ultimately, this led to the emergence of subgenres such as....
  • 4. SLASHER ‘Slasher’ movies were one of the first subgenres to emerge in the ‘Golden Age’ of horror. Although slasher films were in production and released in the previous decade, they began to achieve mainstream popularity in the 1970s, largely due to the films Halloween and Friday the 13th. Whereas previous horrors focused on events happening in the distant past, with creatures and mutated humans serving as the antagonists, slasher films took place in the present day, with real humans serving as the psychopathic killers. By using locations audiences were familiar with – such as suburban neighbourhoods, or isolated cabins in the woods – the films played on their domestic fears by making the horror depicted in the movie actually seem possible. Indeed, some slashers were released as a warning to audiences about the dangers of casual sex, which was becoming hugely popular after the era of the sexual revolution in the 60s. This further played on the audiences fears, as those who were the most unruly or ‘wild’ in the films, were often the ones to be killed first, in the most graphic of ways. Furthermore, slasher movies were the first mainstream films to feature strong scenes of gore and violence.
  • 6. CONVENTIONS IN A TYPICAL SLASHER 1. A group of naive teenagers interested in only sex and being disorderly, with one member of the group who serves as the intelligent virgin, the antithesis of her friends. She will survive to the end. 2. The killer is masked, with a signature weapon at hand, and seemingly has no conscience. 3. The film is set in an isolated location, often away from any help, which the killer uses to pick off the characters one by one. 4. Final cat and mouse chase with the killer, with an unresolved ending. ARE THEY IN HALLOWEEN? Yes – Laurie Strode is the hardworking, virgin teenager who manages to survive while each of her friends –some who are engaging in sexual activities – are brutally murdered. Yes – Michael Myers carries a knife at all times and wears a stolen Halloween mask. He kills without mercy. No – Although the action takes place at night, it is in a suburban neighbourhood, with surrounding neighbours and the police attempting to help. Yes – Although believed to be dead, Myers is still out there.
  • 7. SUPERNATURAL Towards the end of the 1970s, audiences were being presented with more and more supernatural films. Although the concept of the supernatural had been prominent since the very first horror films – such as the vampiric antagonist in Nosferatu – these new supernatural films moved the horror closer to home. At the time, many noted authors such as Stephen King were playing with readers’ perception of reality, forcing them to find terror in everyday experiences that may have whole other meanings. Supernatural horrors such as The Thing and The Fog brought forward a new type of supernatural horror, where the threats seemed very real, especially due to the emergence of realistic special effects at the time. Filmmakers began to realise that perhaps the greatest fear is the fear of the unknown, and therefore used these films to make the unknown a part of audiences lives, designed to scare them for days after the film had finished. Poltergeists, ghouls, demons – the quality of these supernatural films made them real to the audience.
  • 9. CONVENTIONS IN A TYPICAL SUPERNATURAL ARE THEY IN THE SIXTH SENSE? 1. A family moving into a new house/area, where the majority of the film will take place. 2. The supernatural presence reveals itself to one of the characters early in the film, and none/few of the characters believe him until the very end, where it is too late. 3. Otherwordly creatures, such as ghosts, phantoms, or demons, will appear, but are often misunderstood. 4. There is likely to be a twist at the ending, where the threat is seemingly vanquished but returns in some way or another. No – the action takes place over a varietyof locations, andis not triggered by the arrival of a newarea Yes– Coleis plagued by these visions throughout the film, but everyone except his psychologist believehe is delusional until the end, when the twist has already beenrevealed. Yes– As Cole can communicatewith the dead,manyghostscan be seen, although theyare not all threats. Yes- the filmis celebrated for its final twist, which changes the life of his psychologist forever.
  • 10. PSYCHOLOGICAL Towards the end of the 1980s, audiences began to tire of the same old formula of death, gore, and hauntings, and began to demand a new, intelligent kind of horror movie – one that would intellectually stimulate them, as well as terrify them. In general, the quality of films were starting to improve, with more thoughtful blockbusters being made, and a greater amount of philosophical content being injected into films. Horror filmmakers realised that they needed to match this demand for more, and with the release of films such as the silence of the lambs in the early 1990s, audiences were hooked on a new kind of horror – the one that takes place inside your own head. These films proved that humans were perhaps the biggest monsters of all, and used an entirely new set of conventions to provide the audience with unexpected twists, thrills, and scares.
  • 12. Conventions in a typical psychological 1. There are a variety of complex characters; each grappling with their own personal issues and contributing heavily towards the plot. 2. The killer appears to be like everyone else but is mentally deranged, and there is often a motive behind his killings. 3. A variety of plot twists, red herrings, and false suspects will be utilised throughout the film, before a final scene where the killer is either removed or kills everyone. 4. Flashbacks and glimpses into the past allow the audience to decipher why the killer is the way he is. 5. The police/outside authorities often become involved, but are usually either disbelieving, useless, or killed off. 6. Isolated locations are used so the focus can remain solely on the killer, with elements of mystery and deception regularly recurring throughout the plotline In the shining 1. Yes- the son of the killer is gifted with supernatural abilities, and so does the chef. 2. Yes – The hotel ghosts prompt him to kill his family as he begins to lose his mind. 3. Yes/no – Due to the limited number of characters, there are no false suspects or twists, but the killer is eventually frozen in a final cat-and-mouse chase. 4. No – the killer is driven mad by the forces working within the hotel, and the isolation he experiences. 5. Yes – The police cannot come to help, as the roads are blocked, and the chef who returns is brutally murdered with an axe. 6. Yes – the entirety of the film takes place in an isolated hotel. As the characters explore this hotel, they find details of the past traumas that have occurred there.
  • 13. GOTHIC Gothic wasfirstintroducedin the 1930sand20sas itprovided aharshcontrasttothe realitythatmostpeople ofthe timewereexperiencing –withvampires,ghouls andmonstersservingas themain antagonists.However, as the fearsof societybegan toevolve, the popularityofthe subgenre begantodecline until theend ofthe century, when Hammer Film Productions– knownforproducingsomeofthe mostwell-knownGothichorrorsofall time –waspurchasedandrekindledasa majorcompetitorin theproductionofhorrormovies. Since then,films such as SleepyHollow andThe Womanin Blackhavetakenviewers backtoVictoriantimes,intodarkness,hauntings, and monsters.Gothichorrorsoftenbasetheirplotlinesandantagonistson mythsandlegends ofvaryingdegrees of notoriety,attemptingtousechildhoodfearstotrulyterrifytheir audience.
  • 15. CONVENTIONS OF A TYPICAL GOTHIC 1. The antagonist is usually a creature/supernatural entity derived from an old legend orfolk tale. 2. The characters within the film often dress extravagantly, with clothes fromthe Victorian era being apopular choice of costume. 3. The atmosphere is consistently dark/grey andoften scenes of lightning orheavy fog areused togivethe film an eerie feel. 4. There is a way tobanish the evil, whether it is an ancient weapon or spell. 5. Haunted houses, castles, villages – seemingly abandoned. IN THE WOMAN IN BLACK 1. Yes – the woman in black is a common tale in the local village, and many trytoavoid where she used tolive. 2. Yes – the main character is shown in the Victorian attireofa waistcoat andlong black coat throughout the film. 3. Yes – the house, where the majorityof the films scares take place, is consistently bathed in an all-consuming fog, andmany of the scenes arefilmed at night. 4. Yes/no – the woman is appeased by the return of her lost child, but notbanished. 5. Yes – the majorityof the film takes place inside ahaunted house.