Horror movie subgenres

I’ve noticed that there are many movies I like which either have horror elements or are squarely horror. Yet there seems to be a whole swath of horror movies I have no interest for and it doesn’t seem to simply be a question of good vs bad movies but of particular types or subgenres of movies.

For example, I quite like Alien, Aliens, Terminator 1, The Fly, The Thing, Predator, Jacob’s ladder and Silence of the lambs,

Yet Halloween, Hellraiser, Child’s play, Freddy Kruger, Friday the 13th or the Texas chainsaw massacre movies have no interest whatsoever for me.

Anyone else like that? My mind seems to clump individual movies into either group easily but I can’t quite grok why.

Personally I can put Halloween (the original) in the great group you listed first. But I’m with you. I don’t think I’ve seen any of the rest of group 2 in one sitting.

Aside from Hellraiser, these are all slasher series. And Hellraiser shares a directness of violence with the genre - it’s right there, in your face, and a very large part of the horror.

So slashers (and slasher-adjascent) aren’t your thing.

Thanks. Am I correct that slasher movies tend to have a comparatively low budget and be aimed at teenage viewers?
Wiki: “A slasher film is a film in the subgenre of horror films involving a violent psychopath stalking and murdering a group of people, usually by use of bladed tools.”

Does that mean Predator is a slasher film? Alien?

What genre(s) would the movies in the first group be?

Aside from the last two, I’d classify them all as monster movies, as the source of the horror is a supernatural creature or creatures (aliens, robots, etc.).

The last two I’d call psychological horror, in that it’s the depraved psyche of the “villain” that brings about the sense of unease in the viewer.

Nah. The stalking element is necessary but not sufficient for slasher movies.

Predator has a bit of gore, but doesn’t focus on the kills the way a proper slasher will (see my earlier comment for how Hellraiser overlaps with the slasher genre). The horror is less in the element of the victims being pursued, but what happens to them when they’re caught - and the fact that it’s violence, not the body horror that frequently results in the Alien series. It’s less about the violence than torture porn (a genre you’d certainly not like - the Saw and Hostel series are examples), but it is about the violence. Also, slashers tend to be humans (Pamela Voorhees, Leatherface, early Michael Meyers or Jason Voorhees) or former humans (Freddy, Chucky, later MM or Jason, who are all some form of undead), rather than purely supernatural or alien.

I’m always wary of stating subgenres for anything but the most unassailably defined entries, so I’ll beg off on trying to place most of your liked movies…though I wouldn’t consider Terminator a horror at all - it’s an action movie, that focuses more on fighting the T-100 than on the fear inherent in his chase of the Connors.

Nitpick: The Terminator in the first film is a Cyberdyne Systems Model 101, not a “T-100”, which I’m not sure is a thing. :slight_smile:

And I’d be willing to call it action-horror; the nature of the Terminator as an unstoppable single-kinded killing machine is clearly intended to terrify the viewer, as is the impending and seemingly unavoidable nuclear destruction that it represents.

Hrm…think my brain conflated the 800 and 1000 from T2 into that.

I am a child of the 60s-70s. I grew up on horror films of the 30s-40s. The Universal films were the gold standard. Slasher and torture porn horror never appealed to me.

There are many sub-genres of horror films, and of course filmmakers always try to weave a path in between the categories to come up with something uncategorizable. And if they are successful, they end up creating a new category which everyone else tries to rip off.

My favorite category is horror-comedy (such as the Evil Dead movies). In my mind ALL horror is horror comedy to some extent, because I can never take any of it seriously, but still enjoy it.

If you haven’t actually seen Halloween, I recommend you give it a try. It’s really more about mood and tension, and oddly less bloody than Psycho. The slasher movies of the '80s were fun if you were into special effects makeup and didn’t take things too seriously. I was a big fan of Rick Baker, Tom Savini and Rob Bottin.

Horror movies where the big draw is reveling in long, drawn-out depictions of the pain and anguish of the victims is where I check out. There’s been some pushback against the term “torture porn” over the past decade or so, but I still feel it’s a perfectly accurate descriptor.

Your group A looks like Science Fiction Horror to me.

I’m with you. Boris Karloff is GAWD, man.

I agree with Ukulele Ike. Alien and its sequel, Terminator, and [The Fly* are definitely science fiction with horror elements thrown in.

AMEN to that. Just check him out in The Body Snatcher:

I broadly categorize horror movies into three groups: Slashers, Creepers, and Creatures.

Slashers are the most “in your face” of the bunch; they have the big franchises, like Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street, and Friday the 13th. They deal with a killer, or on occasion killers, killing people. They rely on repulsion for a lot of their “scare” value, and they feature a lot of blood and gore. They tend to be the cheapest kind of horror to make, usually don’t have a very strong script as a result, and usually reliably make money, so they keep churning 'em out. There are thought-provoking, well-written, and well-made movies in this category, so it shouldn’t be discounted entirely.

Creepers are more strongly scripted than slashers; they use story, rather than graphic visuals, to create fear and dread. Get Out and Hereditary are good recent examples. Sometimes there’s blood and gore, but it’s usually not the focus. They’re harder to make effectively, because they rely on a strong story and a good filmmaker.

Creatures are exactly what they sound like: a horror movie that features some kind of thing. Such as The Thing, come to think of it. The creature can be human-like, like Dracula or Frankenstein, or just weird, like The Blob. There can be lots, like Piranha, or just one, like Jaws.

Of course, there’s a lot of cross-over. Child’s Play is a slasher, but also sort of a creature movie. The Thing is clearly a creature movie, but it has strong slasher-like qualities. The Exorcist fits all three categories to some degree.

And there are also sub-categories. “Torture porn” seems to me to be a subset of slasher that heightens the visuals to an extreme degree and makes pain, rather than fear, the focus. My favorite subset of Creature films is the “Giant Killer Something” movie, where some massive monster is destroying everything. Eight Legged Freaks would be one such movie. Even the Godzilla movies are sort of Giant Killer Something movies.

Thrillers are another thing entirely, not in the family of horror. The way I see it, thrillers are about danger, while horror is about fear.

Edited to add: I should mention that I’m something of an extremeophile when it comes to horror. I have a drawer that I call “my ‘What The Fuck Is WRONG With You?!’ drawer”, because sharing the movies within would probably lose me some friends.