Are you into horror films? Like, REALLY into horror films? We call bullshit. No one is more into horror than our mainline to the under-verse, Haley. She breaks down your favorite scary flicks better than you knew possible. Her keen eye catches the scene within the scene and gives her the skills to critique films so you lucky High Fivers can glean a deeper knowledge of the psychology that is unique to the horror genre. Welcome, to the Gates of Haley.

Dissecting Horror

I bet if you’re here, you like horror movies. It’s kind of a given… this is a horror page. But what if I told you that I could break down some of the major sub-genres within the horror realm in order to make finding more movies you want to watch easier? What if I also told you I’m going to leave a few movies for you to check out as well for each sub-genre?

Boom, you’re fucking sold. Let’s do it.


This one is pretty self-explanatory, so basically, body horror is a type of fictitious horror that inflicts the “scares” by following the deterioration and unnatural distortions of the human body. Think anywhere from Cabin Fever to Black Swan. This has always been my favorite sub-genre, it always provokes that weird feeling you get when you see something you really didn’t want to see. For example, that super sick scene in The Thing… crawling heads am I right?

The ones you should see: Ichi the Killer, The Thing, Teeth

Horror Sub-Genres - Body Horror


Ah, don’t you love when writers/producers come together to probe into that little mind of yours? Viewer paranoias and fears are exactly what this popular sub-genre focuses on. What’s interesting about this, however, is that psychological horror can be manipulated by an unreliable narrator or a mental disturbance. Jack Torrence? Yeah, totally crazy. And yes, The Shining is a prime example of psychological horror. Usually involving a fuck ton (technical term) of plot twists and questionable dialog and actions, the usually artistic approach to the human psyche via horror has been a fan favorite for decades. We can all name a few favorites.

The ones you should see: The Shining, Gerald’s Game, American Psycho

Horror Sub-Genres - Psychological Horror


Murder! It’s been a wild ride for this sub-genre throughout the years, with a major cult following and constant reboots of old favorites. Slashers usually follow a weapon-wielding maniac, thirsty for blood. Let’s not get this confused with splatter films (hold your horses… it’s the next one, okay), which are focused more on a gore aspect. Slashers are slightly more mild than splatter horror and follow a human protagonist. We also see a lot of common cords between slasher movies (the virgin being spared, a horrible trauma for the murderer, the constant deaths of the maniac that somehow never work). But guess what! This sub-genre often overlaps others, for example, above I listed American
as a psychological horror, when it could also be described as a slasher.

The ones you should see: Friday the 13th, Scream, House of 1000 Corpses

Horror Sub-Genres - Slashers


See, told you I’d get here. Ah, splatter films, video nasties, torture porn… whatever you want to call it. These are the films we hate that we love. You know, guts flying, blood splattering, saw-your-friend’s-arm-off-for-the-hell-of-it horror. The graphic and controversial portrayal of gore and violence and the interest in mutilation is what has made the popularity of this sub-genre grow substantially over the past decade. This can range from slightly less intense revenge horror to faux snuff films. Basically, anything really bloody and fucked up. Is the Saw franchise coming to mind? It should.

The ones you should see: A Serbian Film, Inside, August Underground Franchise

Horror Sub-Genres - Splatter


Yes, Jan, we can put all of your favorite ghosts, ghouls, and occults in this sub-genre. A rising favorite dating back to the 60’s, this sub-genre has exploded in the past few years, following the success of the Paranormal Activity franchise that we all watched the first two go-arounds but then got tired of. Supernatural horror tends to go hand in hand with psychological horror, as the tormentor usually disrupts the tormented victim’s state of mind. It’s so cute when things work together.

The ones you should see: The Grudge, The Exorcist, The Conjuring

Horror Sub-Genres - Supernatural 

So what do you think? Did you learn something? Maybe want to know a little more? Good thing part II is coming in the future. I’ll let the anticipation marinate.


About the Author (of Your Doom)

Haley Williamson Bio