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Top 10 Horror Film Clichés

Updated on December 22, 2013

A picture from one of my favorite horror movies.

The gypsy from the movie "Drag Me to Hell."
The gypsy from the movie "Drag Me to Hell."

Fear: A Good Thing?

Why is it people are so intrigued with fear? The majority of people when asked if fear is a pleasurable or non pleasurable emotion, would more than likely say that fear is not an enjoyable feeling. However, many humans seek out "fear causing situations" like a horror film and enjoy the experience.

A roller coaster is another good example of an experience that causes many individuals fear, yet, many people love the experience. Waiting in line to ride a roller coaster and then the ride of the roller coaster itself would cause fear to many persons. Despite that this attraction invokes fear in multiple individuals, many people choose to have this experience, and wish the experience to reoccur. The feeling of fear during this experience and of many others such as a horror film have been described as thrilling, exciting, and euphoric.

For a person with arachnophobia, seeing a spider would more than likely not be described as euphoric or exciting, or as a pleasurable experience in general. It would also be assumed that such a person would not wish this instance to be repeated. Both scenarios mentioned above are examples of fear. However, one scenario would be described as a good feeling of fear and the other one as a bad feeling of fear. What is the difference?

The reason people enjoy the fear caused by horror films or a roller coaster is due to the adrenaline rush they gain from the experience. An adrenaline rush is the euphoric, thrilling, and exciting emotion a person feels from fear. In my "Top Ten" article below, I will not be listing common occurrences in a horror film that cause us excitement from fear. Instead I am making fun of the common failed attempts in horror movies to cause us fear. Enjoy.

Fun Fact: The Origin of Horror.

The word "horror," comes from:

  • the Middle English word horrour
  • the Anglo-French term orur
  • the Latin word horrēre meaning "to bristle or shiver"
  • the Sanskrit word harṣate meaning "he is excited"

First Known Use: 14th century

Webster, Merriam. "Horror - Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary." An Encyclopaedia Britannica Company Merriam-Webster . Merriam Webster, Incorporated, 2013. Web. 17 Nov. 2013. <>.

Test Your Knowledge

What is the true definition of "Horror?" (Answer is at the bottom of the page.)

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The Devil's Castle

"Le Manoir du Diable"
"Le Manoir du Diable"

Fun Facts About the First Horror Film

  • The first horror film was made in 1896.
  • A French man created the first horror movie, and it was first played in France.
  • "Le Manoir du Diable" was the name of the first horror flick which roughly translates to "The Devil's Castle."
  • The movie is only a matter of minutes long.
  • Ironically, the first horror movie was released on Christmas Eve.
  • The bat that flies into the ancient castle is supposed to have transformed itself into a demon named Mephistopheles.
  • Georges Melies both created and starred in the film.


The Very First Horror Movie

Top Ten Horror Movie Clichés

  1. The car never cranks on the first try.
  2. No one ever has any cell phone service.
  3. The victim never stands still, aims, and shoots the monster/attacker at point blank range to ensure the attacker/monster is killed. Instead, the victim feels it is best to run shooting aimlessly behind them until they are out of ammo.
  4. The power always goes out.
  5. The monster/attacker is never dead the first time viewers are supposed to believe it is.
  6. The group always feels the need to split up when it is obviously a bad idea.
  7. Victims are always startled by something to which they shoot aimlessly at nothing repeatedly until out of ammo, so that they are unarmed when they are actually attacked.
  8. The victim always trips and falls during the chase when he or she is running from the attacker/monster.
  9. Even if the attacker is human, he or she appears to have superhuman healing powers where the person survives ten gun shot wounds, or barely is affected by losing a limb instead of bleeding out and dying like what would realistically happen.
  10. Minor characters die quickly, whereas main characters sustaining the same or a similar fatal injury die dramatically and slowly so that they can make a final stand, or utter their final words, while often in a lover's arms.

The chase where she will eventually fall.

I Want to Hear from my Readers!

What do you think is the most common horror film cliché?

See results

Victims always miss this sign.

What is the definition of "Horror?" - ANSWER

It was a trick question, all answers are correct!

© 2013 Amber


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    • kittythedreamer profile image

      Nicole Canfield 3 years ago from the Ether

      How about when the victim runs up the stairs instead of out the front door? That one always kills me.

    • ejparker profile image

      ejparker 4 years ago from Fort Hood, Texas

      I thought I knew a lot about the genre and was surprised at how much I did not know! What an entertaining and informative piece! Great work.

    • profile image

      I come from Michi 4 years ago

      Your post is very creative. I find it both entertaining and fun.

    • JG11Bravo profile image

      JG11Bravo 4 years ago

      I actually learned quite a bit from this, thank you. Very good information on the history and nuances of the genre. Voting up.