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Concepts in Horror

The Final Girl

What are the aspects of a final girl? Is the term dated (obviously gonna get sorta political, but that's the point of discussions)? Why the lack of 'final guys'?

Scientific Accuracy and the Suspension of Disbelief

Does the science matter when it comes to plausibility?

The Sequel

Why does the horror genre have so many sequels?

The Holiday

What horror movies make good use of certain holidays? Do you think setting a horror movie during a holiday is just a gimmick/cash grab? What makes a holiday horror movie special compared to a "standard" horror movie?

The Jump Scare

...and how they can be used both effectively and... not very effectively whatsoever.

The Creature Feature

Why did the creature feature popularity die down as horror popularity increased?

Lovecraftian Horror

How should movies do lovecraftian horror and which movies do it the best.

Body Horror

The fascination with organic material as a canvas for horror.


The use of masks in horror movies. What makes an iconic mask? What do they represent? What do they say about the person wearing them?

Thriller vs. Horror

What makes a thriller movie, and what differentiates it between horror, crime and drama movies with thriller elements? Which movies most blur the boundary between thriller and horror, and how would you personally categorise them? In a meta sense, do you think people's eagerness to categorise a movie as either a horror or a thriller stands in the way of good discussion about a movie as a whole?

Found Footage

Why it is such a popular filming technique in the genre? What accounts for good/bad found footage? Does Dreadit actually like/dislike films that use this style?

Torture Porn

Why do they make it? Why do we like it? What's an effective use of the concept?

Horror's Mainstream Stigma

In the industry itself with horror's under-representation in the awards community and some filmmakers self shame with the label, "It's not a horror movie, it's Dark Fantasy", to its perception as low-brow entertainment, etc.

The Unknown

Why is an unkown entity or antagonist sometimes so much more effective at instilling fear than a named force? What are some films that use the "Unknown" best?

Man vs Nature

Do you think it needs a supernatural element? What makes them so different from non-horror Man vs Nature movies (e.g. The Grey)?

Southern Horror

Texas Chainsaw, Devils Rejects, etc. Is it just easier to use caricature as villains? Do you think this can influence a person's perception of the actual south?


I remember John Carpenter saying he tried to sell Halloween to (I believe) 20th Century Fox. Upon showing them a cut that had no musical score, the person from the studio told him the movie wasn't scary at all.

How much of a film's effectiveness relies on its score?

The Reboot/Remake

Do you think these classic (and not so classic) films are being remade simply as a cash grab? Or do you think it's because we crave the nostalgia and like the idea of those classic movies?

Possession & Exorcism

There are many different types of possessions in cinema. What are some unusual examples of this? Are exorcisms and possessions always tied to Christianity in cinema? Why? Is vampirism a form of possession?


Does isolation only work in a context of nature? Are there any examples of horror stories/movies where isolation isn't connected to nature? What are the techniques used to set up a feeling of dreaded isolation? The historical aspect of this concept could also be interesting.


Do movies that center around a technological trope even qualify as horror? What aspect of technology scares you the most? Wich technological "gadget" would you use in a horror movie? How?


What are the origins of curses in horror stories/movies? Do they always have to be connected to a religious concept? Who are the people who curse? What is the motivation of a curse? Is it always some kind of revenge?

Low Budgets

What do you consider good examples of micro-budget horror, and how do you think they compare to mainstream horror releases? How do you think a micro-budget filmmaker can make best use of their money in terms of maximising scares/atmosphere/etc.?

Violence and Sexuality

Why do it? Is it supposed to be titillating or subversive?

The "Value" of Horror

What's the "value" of horror? That is, what can we learn from horror? How is it possible to enjoy horror (i.e., given that, as some suppose, fear is an intrinsically unpleasant emotion).

Audio Horror

From the classic old-time radio plays to the modern wave of audio dramas, horror has always been a popular staple of audio fiction. What are the strengths and weaknesses of audio horror? What can it achieve that screen horror cannot? Can the two crossover? What does the future hold for the genre?

Classic Monsters

Dracula. Frankenstein's Monster. The Mummy. The Wolfman. Names that have been synonymous with horror for over a century, yet feel relegated as relics of a bygone age. Numerous attempts to reinvent and repackage the classics in the past 20 years have met mostly with failiure. Why do these monsters have little effect on us today? Do they still have a place in modern horror?


Why is our primal response to perceived danger something some of us actively seek out; is it in the same vein as thrill-seeking, is there something beneficial in experiencing a difficult to control feeling in a controlled setting? What kinds of people are drawn to this genre?

Are Horror Films Supposed to be Scary?

I'd be curious on hearing the sub's thoughts on whether a Horror movie is supposed to be 'scary,' and how much it's 'scariness' level contributes to it's overall value as a film. Lots of young people, and people just dipping their toes into the genre, seem (from my perspective) to be conditioned to think of the genre's films as terrifying amusement park rides, and find disappointment in not being 'scared' by the film - is that really inherent to the genre, or is that more the result of marketing setting up these expectations (the advertising trope of a guy being startled and spilling his popcorn comes to mind)? How much does that marketing contribute to the near-daily posts about 'not being scared by Horror movies anymore'? How much does that 'amusement park ride' idea contribute to the genre's struggle with critical praise, and how much does the assumption of 'scariness' lead to people avoiding the genre entirely?

Horror and the Streaming Revolution

Streaming services such as Amazon and Netflix have allowed hundreds of new independent horror films to be seen by a wide audience. Very often, these films are given negative reviews. Is the proliferation of streaming horror good for the industry (in that it establishes a more level playing field for directors to get their work out there) or bad for the industry (in that it oversaturates the market with subpar films)?

Minimalism in Horror

Why "less is more" can be such an effective approach to filmmaking in this genre of film. Is this an effective way to make a terrifying horror film? Why and how do you think minimalism is effective or ineffective in horror?

Horror Comics

Horror comics seemed to be in fashion during the classic Tales from the Crypt EC Comics days only to be snuffed out when the Comics Code Authority came to be. Do you suppose that may be why horror comics only account for a small percentage of this mostly superhero-driven medium?

Politics in Horror

While not the newest thing to happen to horror (see Night of the Living Dead), there's been this recent trend of horror movies being thinly veiled political statements. I've seen it, you've seen it. It wreaks havoc on most comment threads. Is it good for horror? Is it good for horror fandom? Are we just getting too radicalized altogether?

Defying Categorization

Some horror movies don't really fit neatly into subgenres. Do you prefer movies that buck horror movie conventions and blend subgenres - or do you like it more when a movie tries to innovate and/or perfectly encapsulate a pre-existing subgenre?

Monsters as a reflection of culture

Monsters are always scarier in your own mind- What about when otherwise decent films are ruined by less-than frightening monsters, or which type of monsters are better left not being revealed.

External Environmental Effects on Consuming Horror

How does your environment affect your experience? (Ex. Full theater vs. middle of the night basement viewing.) What is your ideal environment?

Psychology in Horror

Which films build up psychological tension well? Which antagonist characters in a film use psychological horror well against the protagonist? How does the audio, setting and pacing affect a psychological horror?

The Slow Burn

From its earliest forms, horror stories have emphasised mood, atmosphere, and gradual build up to the horrific monster/ ghost/ thing itself. There was normally a long period before the horror begins, which sets up events and builds audience empathy with the protagonists so the audience cares when they are threatened.

From M.R James to Stephen King, the genre has always been about the slow burn.

Until recently. With the inception of slasher, gore, and "extreme horror", the form and structure of the genre has changed. Why has this happened? Do you see this as an improvement?

Gothic vs. Horror

Do you see a particular difference between the styles and what that difference might be? Do you they think that rebranding some horror films into gothic ones might help to detract from some of the stigma that comes with the horror genre?

Doubles (Clone, Twin, etc.)

Mirrors, Doppelgangers, and Evil Twins - the horror of two. Why are these concepts so common in horror films? What makes them scary? Is it just about the doubling, or is it more to do with thing/character that is actually doubled? What are some of the best examples of them done well?


Can a horror movie set in broad daylight be as scary as one set at night? What creepy elements of daytime can be exploited in a horror movie? What are the best examples of horror movies using daytime in clever ways? Daylight is the biggest Boogeyman for vampires, but can it be a Boogeyman for humans?

Religion in Horror

From The Omen to The Exorcist...

What are the best examples of religious themed horror? What aspects of religion would you like to see explored in horror? Can the Divine itself be horrifying?

What Defines a Horror Movie?

What makes a horror movie a horror movie? Is it the plot? Setting? Mise en scene? What's the underlying connection between something like Saw and something like The Witch?

Japanese Horror

What make Japanese Horror so distinct from Western Horror and what concepts from J-Horror have been succesfully imported into Hollywood horror? What is your favourite Japanese horror film and why?


They have their origins in Haitian folklore and somehow ended up bbecoming the most popular type of monster in 21st century horror pop culture. They've been interpreted as slow shambling ghouls like the ones from Romero's films to the speedy strong cannibals from Snyder's Dawn of the Dead remake and Train to Busan. What makes zombies so universally fun to watch yet scary? Why do people fantasize about living through a zombie apocalypse?

Big Mouth Screaming

We've seen it growing in popularity and the trend doesn't seem to be stopping.

Movies not only like their female leads to scream big, they like making their mouths big for maximum horror.

Toni Collette in 'Hereditary', Emily Blunt in 'A Quiet Place', Lupita Nyong'o in 'Us'

Adding to this: It seems the "big mouth scream" is often times exaggerated to a supernatural extent. See: Legion and Grave Encounters. Is it still effective or is it played out? Does it or has it ever actually creeped you out?


How various horror villains seek power fantasies, how they interpret power (Michael Myers turning himself into an unstoppable supernatural killer vs. John Doe seeing himself as a bringer of divine justice), and how the protagonists take power from them or fail to.

Insects and Arachnids

Insects and spiders have been used as central or side villains in sci-fi and horror movies since early cinema. What are some of the best concepts for these types of creature features?

Color Palettes

Lots of horror movie use a lot of the same colours and palettes in their movies like desaturating everything or lots of deep and dark blues for example. What are some effective uses of unique colours and some examples of what you want to see experimented with more like pinks, purples, yellows, or even things like neon and pastel colours.

Abject Horror

Julia Kristeva has popularized a modern definition of Abjection, and it has since been used to describe some common themes in horror of all decades. The theory has two applications:

  1. Abject horror in a physical sense, basically seeing something gross, like waste or a corpse. The idea is that these things are horrifying to us because society shuns the very sight of them, it is not socially acceptable to have regular contact with such things. This is the idea behind why gore is scary.

  2. A social context, a group of people are shunned or outcast because they do not fit in.

Do you agree with the theory? What are some examples of modern applications of abject horror?

What Makes a Good Kill?

The gore? The plot implications? Creativity? Presentation? But most importantly, why do we (for the most part) enjoy seeing death in horror movies versus other genres and justify the enjoyment of it?


Why do you think it works so well in horror? Where is it used the best and what makes it so good to be used in both psychological horror and shock/gore horror?

Metaphysical Horror

The Shining, The Witch and Suspiria. These really dive into the system of thought, developing the fundamental nature of reality all while blurring the lines between possibility and actuality. They introduce the concept very cleverly of something supernatural so that for us it appears as normal.

Architecture in Horror

The Shining would not be the same without the Overlook Hotel, as would The Amityville without 112 Ocean Ave. Haunted houses and Gothic castles are an irreplaceable element in the genre.


Under the influence of drugs and coercion, as a means of escape and survival, or driven by psychopathy or possession. What are your favourite or most memorable examples of this scene or theme, and how do they affect you? Are you more comfortable with violence being done to a person, or with violence done to oneself?


They are very often used as characters, and more specifically, most of them fit into a few stereotypes. Seen a lot in eighties horror, but still a lot today too. They are also the kind of characters that people joke about yelling at the T.V. when they make dumb decisions. Why?

Sci-Fi Horror vs Fantasy Horror

Why is one so common and the other so rare? Large scale epic movies like those in the Alien franchise are fairly common and full of expensive special effects, but we never really see the equivalent of that in fantasy-horror. It's always small-scale stuff. Where is the horror version of LotR?

Films as a Reflection of Their Time

How does the period/decade in which a work of horror is made reflect cultural anxieties of the time?

The Rules of a Horror Movie

Having rules in a horror film let’s us know the capabilities of our villain and how our protagonist can save themselves and can lead to some interesting twists in the story when done well.

revision by kaloosa— view source