Are They Really Horror Movies?

There are certain movies that always sort of get called horror movies, but aren’t really horror movies but people discuss them as if they were or weren’t horror movies. For example Alien. There really isn’t much to call this a horror movie. It takes place in space, involves a literal alien species that takes over a space ship. This is all typical and known sci-fi territory in every sense of the genre. Many times however it gets tossed into the horror section. Here for example Nerdist list as a space horror movie. I have had this argument with @torstenvblog for years actually. But realistically aside from “it scared some people” I have never gotten a real answer on how its a horror movie.

Another one I have heard, and made a list of 70 best horror movies is Jaws (1975) A thriller about a man-eating shark somehow quite often gets tossed into the horror movie category because simply, it scared people. What we really need is some sort of check list to decide this on. Is something being scary simply what decides it? Because plenty of horror movies didn’t scare me so are they no longer horror movies? Clearly being scary isn’t enough imply on the grounds of that being subjective. I also am not sure that simply having a monster won’t do it. Godzilla is a monster and nobody would call those monster movies.

Realistically I think we need to have a few things in place, for example there needs to be some sort of otherworldly or super force in play. Think werewolf or vampire or maybe Freddie/Jason sort of deal. A natural entity such as a shark or Alien alone doesn’t seem to be enough.

On the other side of things, a movie should also be making the attempt to be scary on some level, obvious exceptions are when something is trying to be funny or is clearly setting up something for later. Nobody expects horror movies to be scary constantly. Jaws was a suspenseful movie and had some jump scares, but the movie was never really designed to truly make you scared the same way most horror movies are.

Now I am not pretending to be an expect or to by any means simply dismiss new variations of the horror genre. In fact I love them, but this idea that anything that is scary equals horror movie makes very little sense to me. It is like saying anything that has a funny moment is a comedy which is something nobody ever says.

Anyway, I truly think it is time we recognize that movies like Jaws and Alien are great and classic movies, they simply are not horror movies. Best wishes and may the gaming gods bring you glory.

Author: Savior699

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12 thoughts on “Are They Really Horror Movies?”

  1. I agree, I don’t think Jaws (my all time favorite movie btw) is a horror movie. It’s an adventure/thriller. The difference is the second half of the movie is a hunt for the shark. The heroes are taking the offensive and the movie becomes a back and forth between shark and man for the rest of the movie. Alien however is a horror movie. An unknown life form, seeming unstoppable, murdering/eating the crew one by one with no obvious way of killing the creature. The crew is isolated, on a ship with no way off and the alien can be hiding any where and strike at any time. The Nostromo is a haunted house in space. It may not be strictly supernatural, but neither are movies like Halloween, Friday the 13th, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Cannibal Holocaust, etc and those movies are definitely horror. I don’t think the setting is what makes a movie a horror movie, I think it’s how the action unfolds. I would argue that The Truman Show is a horror movie. A man raised from birth in an artificial world created for no other reason than to entertain an unseen audience comes to realize that every person, place, and thing he has ever known is a manufactured lie all under the control of an all seeing Director. To me, that’s a pretty horrific idea.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The Truman show? That is a new one for me, tho I do see where you are coming from with it. Never would have thought of it like that myself but now that you mention it thats terrifying


    1. That’s not quite true tho. Alien is simply an alien arguably defending itself and its territory. It isn’t simply mindlessly killing. Michael myers on the othrr hand has no such defense. One is arguably simply a sci-fi movie, kind of like a mature star trek

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well if you watch the deleted scenes or hear commentary Ridley states that the alien goes on the offense. In the scene where lambert is being killed over the loud speaker; the xenomorph is actually raping her to death and later you find out that the alien is harvesting the humans.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Which is still no different than many species of insects that lay eggs in a host until they hatch. There is a wasp that does something similar to spiders. Much of the movie has very little horror aspect to it and is more about science fiction. It just happened to scare some people. You bring up some valid points tho.


      3. I haven’t seen Green Inferno. Cannibal Holocaust honestly its been so long i don’t remember much beyond it being a pretty messed up movie. I need to watch it again, any movie that requires people to go to court to prove he didn’t kill people is worth a few viewings


  2. Great post. You raise some good points. In my opinion, horror movies should feature an evil or oppressive force (this can be an animal, human, ghost, alien, robot, it doesn’t matter) killing people in intimate ways (i.e. close up, one by one, as opposed to Godzilla who wipes out entire cities with his glowy, atomic breath). Horror movies should also scare, shock, or disgust in some way, or at least have a macabre vibe throughout. That’s my criteria. Of course, everything is subjective. Don’t take so much stock in the way things are classified on IMDb and Wikipedia because it doesn’t really matter.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can definitely buy that. And I agree to many people like to look at IMDb and Wikipedia as the end all be all to these sorts of things. Sometimes its just fun to see what other people think.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Jaws seems a little far stretched to be called a horror movie. Alien is more understandable. But still I think it might fall under thriller. But frankly I don’t care cause Alien, though had good moments, annoyed me as a film. lol 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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