Horror film clichés

Horror film clichés

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Five horror film clichés

Since almost the beginning of cinema, we have had scary films. Of all the genres that exist, horror is perhaps one of the most conventional. Many horror films rely on specific plot devices, also called tropes, to make their audience frightened. When a trope is used too much, it can become a cliché. But when used well, it can really make us jump out of our skin. Here are some of the most used, and perhaps abused, clichés in horror films.


No matter what kind of house it is, the basement is a scary place in horror films. That's usually where something is hiding or where the evil psychopath has hidden their tools. Basements are always dark and often damp. You can only reach them by a narrow staircase. And basements are always creepy, even when there isn't anything down there.


In older horror films, when protagonists were in desperation, it was difficult or impossible for them to call for help or call the police. Mobile phones have made that situation a bit less believable now. What's the solution to maintain suspense? No phone coverage! If you're a hero in a horror film, it's almost certain that at a key moment, just when you absolutely need to call for help, you will not have any coverage at all. Or your phone battery will die just as you are making the call. Or both.


Horror films love uninhabited places. This could be an abandoned hospital, a scary empty house or a ghost town. There's something about lonely, empty places. What was it like when people lived there? Why did they leave? Maybe it's also that they are so quiet, which can be very scary too. Of course, abandoned places are also handy for horror film directors in that it's more believable that you will have no phone coverage there either (see above).


The hero has been driving for hours. It's night-time and it's beginning to rain. Suddenly he sees a person on the side of the road. Maybe the company will keep him awake? In horror films, giving anybody a ride is asking for trouble. The hero always does it, and it always ends badly.


This horror film cliché was especially popular with horror films of the late 20th century. It starts with a group of teenagers all enjoying themselves, and it ends with everyone dead except one girl. At the beginning the girl is usually innocent, shy and not particularly strong. By the end, she has become the toughest and most resourceful person in the world. The last girl almost always wins in the end.

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Hi ma7moud3zim,

We're glad that you liked the article!

A convention is something that follows people's expectations. In this context, it refers to the common characteristics of horror films.


LearnEnglish team

Submitted by pannkalaysoe on Sat, 22/04/2023 - 19:06


I love watching horror films very much.One of the most common cliches I have noticed in horror films is twist ending.The killer or the bad guy never really dies.It always appears at the end of the film in some way that makes us shocked.

Submitted by sunomo on Tue, 21/02/2023 - 17:42


I loved to watch horror movies when I was a child. When I became a teenager I couldn't really watch horror movies because they were too scary for me. At that time I fell in love with comedies and romantic movies like Twilight. And now I love to watch bloggers who play games in the horror genre. Maybe it's because you are not alone when you watch someone else coming through the scary house or into an abandoned experimental laboratory. Also there's a comment section where you can share your emotions after watching the video. I'm not that brave to play horror games alone. Thank you for reading!

Submitted by lemmi on Mon, 10/10/2022 - 09:34


I enjoy horror movies, but I don't really watch any, because they are too much for me. But I like the idea of it. Horror movies are often accompanied by scary background music, or suddenly having an object or person jumps out or have a dark surrounding. Often related to supernatural.

Submitted by Noldea on Mon, 01/08/2022 - 16:00


After seeing too much inside the darkest corners of the Internet, I am totally immune to horror films. You can say that I'm neutral with them.

Submitted by meknini on Sat, 16/07/2022 - 02:57


No! I detest and try to stay away as much as I could unless I'm coerced into complying to oblige social obligations.

What little I know abut horror flick cliches are not much but let me just jot some random events I've heard of. A man living alone is nearly always a killer, beautiful kindly lady is always someone with traumatic psychotic past, an old gnarl tree hides thousands mysteries, a windy night brings evil spirits and a sleepy town conspires to murder strangers.

Submitted by jyoti Chaudhary on Thu, 02/06/2022 - 12:21


yes, I love to see horror films. but I feel scared all the time after watching horror films at night. but I really enjoy it

Submitted by tuguu4 on Sat, 12/03/2022 - 08:52


Honestly, I think horror films are the most incurious genre in movie industry. I don't watch horror films except for Kubrick films.

Submitted by chanaphat on Thu, 04/11/2021 - 02:22


I really like it
it a great article