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The Right Horror Movie For You.

by Ciarán Coleman 2 months ago in movie review

From demonic possessions to serial killers on a rampage, there's a horror movie for everyone. Here's how to find the right horror movie for you.

Horror can seem like a pretty daunting genre to try and get into, especially if you're easily spooked or squeamish. Like many other genres, it can seem pretty one note from the outside with each individual film difficult to put apart from the next but this actually isn't the case.

From psychological and body horror flicks that keep you asking questions all night, to slashers and thrillers that'll help keep you awake, horror is one of the most versatile and engaging genres of films out there. I'd call myself something of a horror enthusiast these days but would I have called myself that, say, even two years ago? Forget it!

So here's a little guide to help you approach the genre so you get the most enjoyment out of it. I think it's important to remember that fear is subjective and we all have different limits to what we can stomach so I've arranged this guide in a (hopefully) more helpful way.

Finding the Right Horror Movie for You;

1. Psychological Horror

This is sub-genre of horror that focus primarily on the emotional and psychological state of the characters. The characters are often unstable, their lives shrouded in mystery.

Unlike other horror that raises questions for the audience to interpret and answer through the horror shown, with psychological horror the question often comes first with the horror coming second, acting as a backdrop to the films key message. What is the meaning of life? Is there a point to our existence?

Recurring Elements:

- Slow Burner (Psychological horror takes its time, prioritising tone and atmosphere over jump scares.)

- Plot Twists

- Personal Subject Matter (Unlike paranormal or monster movies which are hard to relate to, psychological horror films are scary because of how intimate and realistic they are. Whether it be mental health or suspicion, this sub-genre is grounded in artistic realism.)

Films:

Seven (David Fincher)

The Shining (Stanley Kubrick)

Silence of The Lambs (Johnathon Demme)

The Lighthouse, The Witch (Robert Eggers)

Hereditary, Midsommar (Ari Aster)

Should I watch?

If you like to take your time with a film, think about it for a while and aren't a fan of jump scares, monsters, gore etc. this sub-genre is ideal for you.

(Fair warning though - these films and films in this genre can be heavy and are no stranger to housing violence and gore. They just aren't the main selling point.)

2. Paranormal Horror

A popular sub-genre of the 2010's, paranormal horror deals with all things supernatural and demonic. Usually characters have to deal with curses, demonic possession or other supernatural evils while struggling to find people who will believe them. This often leads to a feeling of paranoia and anxiety, which may be troubling for some and perfect for others.

Recurring Elements:

- Religion (Although not all, many paranormal horror films deal with religious themes, such as hell, the devil and demons.)

- Haunted House (A staple in supernatural/paranormal stories)

Films:

The Conjuring Universe (James Wan)

The Exorcist (William Friedkin)

The Amityville Horror (Andrew Douglas)

Carrie (Brian de Palma)

Should I Watch?

The gore and violence is often fleeting and if you're interested in religious lore or demons in any way, definitely give this sub-genre a try. There's a massive amount of paranormal films out there so be prepared to find a few stinkers amongst the gold.

3. Slasher

Slasher films are movies that I think are impossible to be indifferent too. You either like them or you don't and it's not hard to tell if you're gonna. Personally, they're not for me but that's not to say they're all bad films. In fact, some slashers like the original 'The Texas Chainsaw Massacre' and 'Halloween' offer some of the best cinematography and direction of any horror film, in my opinion.

Recurring Elements:

- Final Girl (A tremendous amount of slasher films end with only one girl making it out alive)

- Masked Villains

Films:

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (Tobe Hooper)

Halloween (John Carpenter)

A Nightmare on Elms Street (Wes Craven)

Black Christmas (Bob Clark)

Should I Watch?

It really comes down to your stomach for violence and gore. There's a handful of terrific slasher films but, in my opinion, the bad definitely outweighs the good. Still, if serial killers give you the heebie jeebies this is the sub-genre for you.

4. Cosmic Horror

Cosmic horror (otherwise known as Lovecraftian) may take first place as being the most difficult horror to make, or rather, make well but if its done right (ie. The Thing) the results can be incredible. The reason it's also known as Lovecraftian is due to H. P. Lovecraft, an American author who's work emphasised a philosophy of cosmicism. His stories, and cosmic horror in general, deal with the terrifying nature of the unknown and the horror lying just beneath the normal.

Recurring Elements:

- Detachment (The lead characters are often loners or otherwise alone in cosmic horror.)

- Insanity (The characters sanity is often fragile when dealing with the horror in Lovecraftian works.)

- Hopelessness (The sense of dread and helplessness in cosmic horror is unlike anything else.)

Films:

The Thing (John Carpenter)

Alien (Ridley Scott)

Prometheus (Ridley Scott)

Should I Watch?

Cosmic horror is incredibly unique as it plays like a mystery but ends often unanswered. If you were a fan of 'Alien' then you may find this sub-genre to be very rewarding. A personal favourite of mine and a great starting point would be 'The Thing' by John Carpenter.

5. Comedy Horror

Despite being a sub-genre thats extremely varied and unpredictable, some of my all time favourite films fall under comedy-horror. It's perhaps, the best starting point if you're a little unsure of what horror you're into.

Recurring Elements:

- Parody (A lot of comedy horror is based off parodying common horror tropes.)

- Gallows Humour (Characters are often seen laughing there way to death)

- Comedic amounts of blood and gore

Films:

The Evil Dead Trilogy (Sam Raimi)

Shaun of the Dead (Edgar Wright)

The Cabin in The Woods (Drew Goddard)

Should I watch?

You like comedies but want to get into horror. This is where you wanna start. I'm a massive 'Evil Dead' fan but I think 'Shaun of the Dead' is the perfect starting point.

6. Monster Horror

Often merging with science fiction/fantasy, monster horror is a vast sub-genre. In fact monster movies are pretty much a whole genre on their own but for the purpose of this guide I felt it best to include it as a sub-genre. Dracula, Frankenstein, Xenomorph... the list goes on.

Recurring Elements:

- Supernatural Creatures (Dracula, Werewolves, Zombies)

- Creatures from Folklore (Big Foot, Loch Ness Monster)

Films:

Predator (John McTiernan)

Alien (Ridley Scott)

Bram Stokers Dracula (Francis Ford Coppola)

Should I watch?

Usually chock full of jump scares, blood and violence. If you prefer fast paced films this may just be perfect for ya. Most are just great popcorn fun for an hour or two and shouldn't be taken too seriously.

7. Gore

If you have any sort of problem with blood, long story short, stay away. Far away. This sub-genre is based off dismemberment, torture, murder and other painful things. It may just be the thing for you as the terror is based in real life horror rather than fantasy, but it's definitely the last genre you want to take lightly.

Recurring Elements:

- Graphic Violence (Gore films aren't called so because of their PG content. The violence is constant and always bloody.)

Films:

Saw (James Wan)

Dawn of the Dead (George A. Romero)

Hostel (Eli Roth)

Should I watch?

If you like slasher films you'll probably like some of what this sub-genre has to offer. Some do offer great social commentary but if you're looking for a riveting story, most gore films has little to offer in terms of plot, the first Saw being the exception. Frequently brutal but concise, it's a good starting film.

8. Body Horror

Unlike gore which is more violent and centred around torture, body horror is far more grotesque, focusing on body mutation and the psychological impact of losing control of your body. Its roots lie in gothic horror and is famous in creating feelings of physical and mental disgust.

Recurring Elements:

- Transformation/Mutation (Characters lose control of their body and become something else)

Films:

The Fly (David Cronenberg)

The Blob (Irvin Yeaworth)

Should I watch?

Body horror can be particularly distressing and although not always bloody, the imagery can be quite revolting and disturbing. It's particularly effective at eliciting strong, emotional responses as well as physical repulsion so if you're looking for a cheesy flick to pass the time, maybe find a paranormal or slasher. That being said, these films can have a lasting impact and that may be exactly what you're looking for.

9. Found Footage

From its birth in the 80's to its continued use throughout the 2000's, Found Footage films made its dent on horror cinema with a a bang. This particular sub-genre has a very realistic/grounded feel that does a good job in inviting you into the world. The acting can also come across more natural as well as the horror.

Recurring Elements:

- First Person (A common trope used in found footage movies.)

- Documentary Style (Some feature police investigations and news reports that help establish the world.)

Films:

The Blair Witch Project ( Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez

Paranormal Activity (Oren Peli)

Should I watch?

Dripping with anxiety inducing terror, found footage horror is fast paced and doesn't take time to set up tone/atmosphere, making many quite forgettable. A horror classic and great starter would be 'The Blair Witch Project'.

* * *

And you're off! Hopefully this little guide helped you figure out where to find the perfect horror film for you. As for every film mentioned in this guide, make sure you check the age rating and content so you're comfortable with the material. Nasty surprises are the crux of horror but all in good fun :)

Thanks for reading! Leave a like if you enjoyed and as always, tips are hugely appreciated. Click the little picture of me for tons more content like this. See ya! - Ciarán

movie review
Ciarán Coleman
Ciarán Coleman
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Ciarán Coleman

'There's no time for hatred, only questions

What is love, where is happiness

What is life, where is peace?

When will I find the strength to bring me release?'

- Jeff Buckley

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