Horror is one of the most diverse and divisive film genres out there. There are so many different kinds of horror movies for virtual every movie fan that likes a good scare. Horror can be split into many different subgenres and many of us hardcore fans have developed a favorite over time. From monsters to plagues, knife wielding killers to torture porn, ghosts to ancient rituals—we’ve narrowed down 11 subgenres that have defined horror. Take a look at our analysis of these horror subgenres, then let us know your favorite horror subgenre from this list in the comments section on social media.
These horror movies revolve around natural disasters (floods, earthquakes, volcanoes, storms, etc.) as well as plagues and pandemics.
Examples of Disaster Horror: “Crawl” (2019), “Contagion” (2011), “Outbreak” (1995)
These horror movies focus on the psychological and emotional aspects of fear.
Examples of Psychological Horror: “The Silence of the Lambs” (1991), “The Shining” (1980), “Get Out” (2017)
These horror movies revolve around a killer stalking and murdering groups of people, often using bladed weapons such as knives or machetes.
Examples of Slasher Horror: “Friday the 13th” (1980), “Halloween” (1978), “Scream” (1996)
These horror movies follow the graphic and disturbing transformation or destruction of the human body.
Examples of Body Horror: “The Fly” 1986, “Hellraiser” (1987), “The Human Centipede” (2009)
These horror movies center on gratuitous violence, gore and mutilation.
Examples of Splatter Horror: “Saw” (2004), “Hostel” (2005), “Terrifier” (2016)
These horror movies revolve around all things supernatural, including ghosts and demonic possession.
Examples of Paranormal Horror: “The Conjuring” (2013), “The Exorcist” (1973), “Poltergeist” (1982)
These films are presented in the found footage film technique with real-time commentary, shaky camera work, “raw” footage and naturalistic acting.
Examples of Found Footage Horror: “Paranormal Activity” (2007), “The Blair Witch Project” (1999), “Rec” (2007)
These films follow human beings interacting with dangerous monsters such as vampires, werewolves, aliens, giant animals, etc.
Examples of Creature Horror: “Jaws” (1975), “A Quiet Place” (2018), “Alien” (1979)
These films combine elements of both the comedy and horror genres, often falling into one of three categories: black comedy, parody or spoof.
Examples of Comedy Horror: “Shaun of the Dead” (2004), “Tucker and Dale vs. Evil” (2010), “Zombieland” (2009)
These films follow a protagonist(s) working to escape and survive death throughout the film. What separates survival films from slashers is that the protagonists are often trying to survive an entity larger than a singular killer.
Examples of Survival Horror: “The Belko Experiment” (2016), “The Purge” (2013), “Don’t Breathe” (2016)
These films employ elements of folklore and often include themes such as isolation, religion and the power of nature.
Examples of Folk Horror: “Midsommar” (2019), “The Wicker Man” (1973), “The Witch” (2015)