Different Faces of Horror

From “Carrie” to “The Shining,” horror movies have fueled the nightmares of children and adults for over 100 years. Whether comedic or life scarring, there are a wide variety of horror genres to choose from, accommodating all horror fanatics.

One of the most intense horror genres are psychological films, created to play games  with viewers’ minds. There are many different ways to approach this genre, often involving violent psychopaths and complicated and twisted plotlines.

The most infamous and genre-defining film is Jonathan Demme’s “The Silence of the Lambs” (1991). Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster), a rising FBI cadet gets help from Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins), a manipulative and psychotic cannibal, in order to capture the serial killer Buffalo Bill (Ted Levine). The scariest part of these types of films is when viewers come to the realization that these psychopaths commit these deeds for sheer pleasure or that there is no real motive at all.

A stereotypical monster movie brings to mind zombies seeking brains to eat while they  take over the world. Monster films have been a staple of Hollywood since movies were invented,  with movies like “Frankenstein” (1931), “Alien” (1979) and more recently, “Babadook” (2014), leaving moviegoers in fright and constant paranoia, looking out for a monster behind their shoulder.

 While not traditionally considered a horror movie, Steven Spielberg’s “Jaws” (1975) showcases the suspense and fear that set the template for many monster horror films to come. The film revolves around the hunting of an abnormally giant, man-eating great white shark responsible for the death of multiple people.

Full of nail-biting suspense and scenes that evoke fear, “Jaws” is a perfect example of a monster movie that leaves a lasting impression on the audience.The very sight of any freakish movie monster already frightens viewers, keeping them on their toes in case they pop up again.

Movies featuring serial killers, where masses of people are murdered, have been a popular genre since the beginning of horror films. The audience often witnesses the protagonists make a terrible decision, resulting in sudden jumpscares, followed by ear-piercing shrieks and a bloody death.

Critically acclaimed movies such as “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” (1974), “Halloween” (1978), “Friday the 13th” (1980)  and many more have become cult classics that viewers  come back to watch when they need  a good scare. This slasher genre inspired Wes Craven’s highly acclaimed “Scream” (1996).

Full of witty references to past slasher and horror films, “Scream” and its comedy elements is what sets it apart from other slasher movies. The film is about Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) who becomes the main target in a series of killings committed by a killer named “Ghostface” (Skeet Ulrich and Matthew Lillard).

Demons, possessed objects, ghosts and haunted houses are the subjects of many film in the horror category. This genre sheds light on the supernatural and taboo things in society, including films such as James Wan’s “The Conjuring” (2013) or “Insidious” (2011).

Arguably the the most acclaimed horror movie of all time, William Friedkin’s “The Exorcist” (1973). shows the exorcism of a demon possessed girl named Regan (Linda Blair) by two priests Father Karras (Jason Miller) and Father Merrin (Max von Sydow). After multiple attempts to treat the young  girl’s problem with no success, two priests are called to remove the demon from Regan.

The very idea of supernatural occurrences taking place in a movie, whether it be possessions or evil spirits, is enough to send chills down anyone’s spine.