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Horror Film Guide: 6 Sub Genres You Must Know!

Designed to entertain the audience with their greatest fears, Horror as a genre has been in existence since the 1890’s, when French Filmmaker George Méliès’ short film Le Manoir du Diable (The House of the Devil) released in 1896 and was then soon followed by two of the earliest horror films we know of – Shinin No Sosei (Resurrection of a Corpse) and Bake Jizo (Jizo the Spook), both released in Japan in 1898.

Over time, horror films have evolved greatly and found a large audience who enjoy this manner of storytelling. Spine-chilling horror as a means of entertainment has been widely accepted worldwide and makes for extremely popular shows on online streaming channels like Netflix and Prime.

Horror as a genre is one of the most diverse, and often overlaps with genres like thrillers, science-fiction, and fantasy. Choosing a sub-genre within horror could be confusing at times and to get more clarity on which direction you want to proceed ahead with, a little professional help can go a long way. You can learn in-depth about films and filmmaking by enrolling yourself in the Advanced Certificate Program in Filmmaking from WWI Virtual Academy.


Here are 6 sub-genres of Horror films that you must know of before you make your own horror film:


Gothic Horror emerged in the 18th century and is sometimes also referred to as Fiction Horror since it usually combines fiction, death, horror, and romance too. Romance with the backdrop of dark and brutal horror is what made these films extremely popular and widely appreciated by viewers. Some of the most popular and notable films include ‘Dracula’, ‘The Lady In Black’, ‘Crimson Peak’, ‘The Eyes Of My Mother’ and ‘Gothika’


Films about haunted houses, exorcism, possession, and occult worship fall under the category of Paranormal Horror Genre. These films are based on supernatural entities like spirits, ghosts, demons, etc. ‘The Exorcist’, ‘The Omen’, ‘The Conjuring’, ‘Annabelle’, ‘Veronica’ and ‘Paranormal Activity’ are some of the most popular Paranormal Horror films.


‘Stree’ is one of the most recent entrants into the genre of Comedy Horror that was loved by audiences across. One of the most interesting genres, this marries the concept of comedy with a substantial dose of horror in it. While these movies tend to scare you, they also leave you in splits and thus offer a very balanced form of entertainment opening up to a wider audience that does not watch horror films. ‘Bhoolbhuliya’, ‘Go Goa Gone’, ‘Life After Beth’ and ‘Santa Clarita Diet’ (TV Series) are other classic examples of Horror Comedy.


Body Horror
This genre of horror explores a gory storytelling method by deforming and altering the human body. Horrific faces, deformed body parts, blood spilling out from internal organs make for popular scenes in this genre. ‘The Ruins’, ‘The Blob’, ‘Bite’, ‘The Fly’, ‘Ash Vs Evil Dead’ and ‘Basket Case’ are some of the films you must definitely watch, to understand what body horror is all abouts


Psychological Horror
Psychological Horror usually plays with the fears of mind and emotion, and more often than not, the films do not showcase a lot of violence or monsters. This genre focuses on the minds of the characters and a close overlap with a psychological thriller is evident. ‘Escape Room’, IT Chapter Two’, ‘Creep’ and ‘Psycho’ are well-known Psychological Horror films.


Found Footage
A recent and extremely popular sub-genre of Horror Films, Found Footage came to light with the 1999 film ‘The Blair Witch Project’. Found footage is a film in which all or a substantial part of the work is showcased as if it was discovered by one of the characters through a means of video recording. The events on screen are typically seen through the camera of one or more characters involved, and the footage is purported to be the only surviving record of the events, with the participants now missing or dead. Classic examples of this genre would include films like ‘Area 51’, Cannibal Holocaust’, ‘Creep 2’ and ‘Ghoul’. This category has become increasingly popular with filmmakers on a tight budget wishing to showcase their filmmaking skills.


This brief introduction about genres can trigger your thought process and help you in developing your next story idea. If you would like to learn about screenwriting so you can create the next Horror Blockbuster, learn from Experts by enroling in A Certificate Program In Screenwriting from WWI Virtual Academy.