What are some horror movie sub-genres?

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Answered by: Bill, An Expert in the Sub-Genres of Horror Category
First, let's begin by answering the question, "What is genre?" The answer is simple. A genre is category under which we file a movie, determined by its key themes and tone. Thriller, comedy, romance and sci-fi are all common genres of film, and encompass films depending on the common plot traits among them.

Taking it a step further, the term 'sub-genre' has been reserved for those kinds of films that are comprised of very specific genre elements. Films like 'buddy comedies', 'erotic thrillers' and 'cop dramas' all exist as popular sub-genres because they offer plot ingredients that have proved consistently attractive to the moviegoing public. Like all kinds of art, cinema leads to fosters die hard fan bases that are determined by specific narrative ingredients and distinct stylistic aesthetic.

The horror movie sub-genre is one of the broadest corners of cinema today. Beneath its umbrella are everything from slasher movies, zombie thrillers, vampire films, haunted house pictures and more. It is, like sci-fi or fantasy, an absolutely endless well of narrative possibilities because of the sheer over-the-top-ness and innate make-believability involved.

Since the beginning of this culturally subversive film movement, many shifts in sub-genre have altered the state of horror as an ever-evolving genre. Early horror pictures were in a fact silent, a sub-genre all their own, and offered primarily whimsical terror tales based off of classic literature. This trend continued on through the 30s, 40s and 50s while Universal Pictures was peddling a sub-genre all their own, the monster sub-genre. Classically penned characters such as Dracula and Frankenstein's monster were glorified and commodified, setting the monster movie sub-genre's bar to nail-biting new heights.

Monsters were in until 1960, when horror movie sub-genres tapped into a vein that had remained largely untouched until that time. Alfred Hitchcock's film 'Psycho' blew the doors down on the horror world almost singlehandedly with its disturbingly realistic portrayal of a homicidal sociopath. Monsters in the movies were no longer risen from the grave, but more likely your next-door neighbor. The slasher sub-genre, typically consisting of a plot where a masked killer is slaying youths, continued to grow on into the 1970s, where a post-Vietnam rawness resonated in the era's darker films.

The 1980s peaked with some of the slasher sub-genre's most well known franchises such as the Friday the 13th series and the Nightmares on Elm Street films. The breakthroughs in Hollywood magic earned this era notoriety for some of its most high-concept physical effects, as well as an impressive resurgence of the monster movie sub-genre. Zombies, werewolves, aliens and vampires provided hours of ooey-gooey onscreen splatter and scares.

The 1990s are widely considered the only decade thus far where the pulse went faint for horror's teaming sub-genres. It would appear that with the success of Wes Craven's 1996 slasher revamp 'Scream', the director (and pioneer of the slasher sub-genre) led to years of filmic copycats, watered-down and self-aware slasher parodies that care more about style than substance.

Fortunately, horror and its numerous sub-genres have experienced an upswing in recent years. Everything from 70s style exploitation and serial killer movies to zombie films and Godzilla-type monster flicks have undergone a jump-start in popularity and artistic form, leaving much to look forward to in the future of these precious sub-genres!

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