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HORROR 
SUBGENRE
There are numerous 
subgenres within the 
horror genre. 
These include: 
1. Slasher 
2. Supernatural 
3. Gothic 
4. Psychological
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
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 
variety of locations, and is not 
triggered by the arrival of a new area 
Yes – Cole is plagued by these visions 
throughout the film, but everyone 
except his psychologist believe he is 
delusional until the end, when the 
twist has already been revealed. 
Yes – As Cole can communicate with 
the dead, many ghosts can be seen, 
although they are not all threats. 
Yes- the film is 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 was first introduced in the 1930s and 20s as it provided a harsh 
contrast to the reality that most people of the time were experiencing 
– with vampires, ghouls and monsters serving as the main antagonists. 
However, as the fears of society began to evolve, the popularity of the 
subgenre began to decline until the end of the century, when Hammer 
Film Productions – known for producing some of the most well-known 
Gothic horrors of all time – was purchased and rekindled as a major 
competitor in the production of horror movies. Since then, films such as 
Sleepy Hollow and The Woman in Black have taken viewers back to 
Victorian times, into darkness, hauntings , and monsters. Gothic horrors 
often base their plotlines and antagonists on myths and legends of
CASE 
STUDY 
T 
h 
e 
w 
o 
m 
a 
n 
i 
nb 
l 
a 
c
CONVENTIONS OF A TYPICAL 
GOTHIC 
1. The antagonist is usually a 
creature/supernatural entity derived from 
an old legend or folk tale. 
2. The characters within the film often dress 
extravagantly, with clothes from the 
Victorian era being a popular choice of 
costume. 
3. The atmosphere is consistently dark/grey 
and often scenes of lightning or heavy fog 
are used to give the film an eerie feel. 
4. There is a way to banish 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 try to avoid 
where she used to live. 
2. Yes – the main character is shown in the 
Victorian attire of a waistcoat and long black 
coat throughout the film. 
3. Yes – the house, where the majority of the 
films scares take place, is consistently bathed 
in an all-consuming fog, and many of the 
scenes are filmed at night. 
4. Yes/no – the woman is appeased by the 
return of her lost child, but not banished. 
5. Yes – the majority of the film takes place 
inside a haunted house.

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Media2014 horror and subgenres

  • 2. There are numerous subgenres within the horror genre. These include: 1. Slasher 2. Supernatural 3. Gothic 4. Psychological
  • 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.
  • 5. CASE STUDY H A L L O W E E N
  • 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.
  • 8. Case study T H E S I X
  • 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 variety of locations, and is not triggered by the arrival of a new area Yes – Cole is plagued by these visions throughout the film, but everyone except his psychologist believe he is delusional until the end, when the twist has already been revealed. Yes – As Cole can communicate with the dead, many ghosts can be seen, although they are not all threats. Yes- the film is 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.
  • 11. CASE STUDY T H E S H I N I N G
  • 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 was first introduced in the 1930s and 20s as it provided a harsh contrast to the reality that most people of the time were experiencing – with vampires, ghouls and monsters serving as the main antagonists. However, as the fears of society began to evolve, the popularity of the subgenre began to decline until the end of the century, when Hammer Film Productions – known for producing some of the most well-known Gothic horrors of all time – was purchased and rekindled as a major competitor in the production of horror movies. Since then, films such as Sleepy Hollow and The Woman in Black have taken viewers back to Victorian times, into darkness, hauntings , and monsters. Gothic horrors often base their plotlines and antagonists on myths and legends of
  • 14. CASE STUDY T h e w o m a n i nb l a c
  • 15. CONVENTIONS OF A TYPICAL GOTHIC 1. The antagonist is usually a creature/supernatural entity derived from an old legend or folk tale. 2. The characters within the film often dress extravagantly, with clothes from the Victorian era being a popular choice of costume. 3. The atmosphere is consistently dark/grey and often scenes of lightning or heavy fog are used to give the film an eerie feel. 4. There is a way to banish 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 try to avoid where she used to live. 2. Yes – the main character is shown in the Victorian attire of a waistcoat and long black coat throughout the film. 3. Yes – the house, where the majority of the films scares take place, is consistently bathed in an all-consuming fog, and many of the scenes are filmed at night. 4. Yes/no – the woman is appeased by the return of her lost child, but not banished. 5. Yes – the majority of the film takes place inside a haunted house.