Halloween is coming, and besides jack-o’-lanterns and candy corn, it’s time to break out the horror movies and scare yourself until you can’t sleep. Here are five of the most common horror movie tropes and why they still scare us to this day.
Note: The video above contains some language and disturbing images.
I personally think horror is a great genre to study, because it probably has the most clearly codified storytelling language and tropes in all film. This fun and interesting video essay from CineFix examines five such tropes and why (despite our knowledge of their use), they continue to scare us. My personal favorite trope is the somehow omniscient/omnivident hidden stalker, à la 2001’s “Joy Ride,” in which an enraged truck driver stalks Paul Walker and Steve Zahn, somehow knowing their every move despite reasonable attempts to evade him. That sort of motif bypasses our rationality — “no person could reasonably find them now” — and in doing so, scares the daylights out of us by tapping into a primal fear of the inescapable, and really, that’s the trick of a lot of horror: finding a way to defeat the rational thought that says, “this isn’t realistic.” Do you have any favorite horror films? Share them in the comments!
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