Horror What Classifies Horror as a Genre?


An Old Friend
I was reading comments on a horror movie where the participant stated that it really shouldn't be called Horror because its not Scary.

I bit my fingers and let the comment go unchallenged but I really would like to discuss this.

I have yet to be actually scared or horrified by a movie that is classed as Horror. Yes, some are creepy and many are disgusting and crude but it seems nothing scares me.

What do you class as horror?


This is news, Vincenzo, NEWS!
imho...horror features something supernatural (vampires, werewolves, ghosts). A true 'horror movie' would have supernatural stuff and be scary (as opposed to, say, Casper, which is supernat but not really frightening).

horror and scifi may both be considered 'speculative fiction' based on what-ifs added to 'reality'.
I guess non-scary horror might be considered fantasy (unicorns), but a dragon movie wouldn't be considered horror, would it?
then there are works like the Alien series; I consider them sci-fi but lots of (whomevers) put that in a 'sci-fi/horror' category. maybe because the stories seem more intent on scaring/freaking you than putting forth some technological issue.
like the man said, 'I can't define it but I know it when I see it'.


An Old Friend
Classifying Horror is truly a difficult thing to do.
For me...

Horror is what I get on the nightly NEWS. Its real life stuff that nightmares are made of.
-Serial Killers, Rapists, Cold-Blooded Murderers, Mega-Corporations, Pharmaceutical Companies, Governments, Insane Deranged People and Religious Entities bring Horror to us daily in real life.
-I think that any TV show or Movie that depicts the Horrors in the NEWS should be classed as Horror.

Horror is also part of Speculative Fiction.
-Mutants, Monsters & Evil Fantasy Entities
-Alien Creatures, Anti-Human Technology & Genetic Splices
-I think any TV show or movie that depicts an entity that exists detrimental to the human condition is also Horror.

A story that plays upon the Fight or Flight response encoded in our being. As with any fiction you must first be able to suspend your disbelief then encompass yourself into the situation as it is described. Horror attempts to create the tense uneasiness of the Fight or Flight response playing on our senses with unexpected or gruesome stimuli.


Horror is pretty hard to pin down as it involves a multitude of sub genres, some of which aren't actually setup to scare you. Over at our little slice of the net we spent quite some time talking about what should be included in a horror site and then decided to broaden our term to "dark genre" as there's a bunch of movies/novels/comics/games that use horror themes and then strike out in non-typical horror fashion.

In short horror explores chaos entering an ordered world whether that's via the zombie apocalypse, a haunted house, a spaceship, or indeed Psychological. Session 9, The Babadook, Alien, Poltergeist, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Silence of the Lambs are all arguably horror movies but each approaches the genre in different ways.


Surprisingly this came up again last night, seems to be a subject that won't go away. Someone was asking whether or not a Mid Summer Murders episode arc would be considered horror if taken out of context of the overall show, which I haven't sat down and watched as the premise seems stupid. English village hosts a whole bunch of murders, uhmm how many people live in this village?

Debate ranged across various crime shows that delve heavily into horror tropes; Sherlock Holmes, Whitechapel, etc. So arguably even non-horror outings can fall under the banner from time to time for mine.

Thankfully we use the term "dark genre" which bypasses any outright need to state what the genre is ;)


For me, anything that elicits feelings of disgust and shock (esp. of the gruesome variety) and fear/terror can be considered horror. It doesn't necessarily have to be regarded as a separate genre because such feelings can be evoked anytime and anywhere in our very own mundane, everyday lives. It crosses into all aspects of life and through any type of story, be it real or fiction. That it has developed into a niche because of a preference of certain authors (to write) and and their audience (to read) stories, fantastic or not, specifically to bring about such emotional responses is beside the point.