Many types of scary movies come to mind when you think about the horror genre ... slashers, monsters, zombies, ghosts, and the list goes one. There's no doubt that over the years, the horror genre has spawn many sub-genres ... and with the many sub-genres, also comes the many options for categorizing them. Some horror movies are easy to categorize. Some horror movies are a bit more challenging to place. Some even tend to be a cross between two or more sub-genres.

Categorizing movies can be a highly subjective process. No one person has all the answers. Different people will obviously have different classification systems. The objective in creating this "Scary Movie Glossary Index" was to provide a means in which to clarify how each horror genre (or sub-genre) will be interpreted here. I want you to know what I mean when I call a movie a slasher or supernatural thriller.


Action Horror: - Are movies that combine elements of both action and horror. These movies tend to be more action then horror, and probably don't belong in the horror genre all together. Nevertheless, you still occasional find them on horror movie lists.
Alien Abduction/Invasion: - Movies about alien abductions and/or alien invasions.
Anthology: - Anthologies combine several short stories, (typically 3-5) into one movie, and often tend to be connected by a single theme.

Breakdown (also known as Backwoods): - Mostly involves city folks, who end up stumbling upon danger, traveling through rural, secluded "backwoods" areas. (inbreeds, cannibals and more)

Classic Horror/Cult Classics: - Classic horror films are typically referred to as being the great, staple, influential movies of the 30's, 40's, 50's, 60's (though here, I may also include some of the classic horror films of the 70's and 80's). Cult Classics are often considered to be the films that have developed strong cult followings over time, after initially failing to achieve fame/popular status. Some cult films have since, gone on to gain classic recognition.

Creature Features (Monster Movies): - Movies with monsters or any type of mutant creature (excluding creatures like werewolves, vampires and frankenstein). I've decided to include alien creatures and "other worldly monsters" in this category as well, when it doesn't involve alien abduction or invasion.
Movie Example: - The Descent (2005)

Dolls & Puppets: - Movies involving eerie dolls and/or puppets. (really any type of "evil" toy)
Movie Example: - Dead Silence (2007)

Eco-Horror/Beast: - Movies typically involving animals and insects (sometimes plants), attacking humans. (sharks, alligators, dogs, piranha's ... etc). 
Movie Example: - Jaws (1975)

Epidemic Horror (also Known as Survival Horror): - Movies involving some form of an outbreak, that spreads from person to person affecting many people at the same time, i.e zombie movies, and all of the other zombie-like movies (all movies involving "infected-mindless-rageful" human beings)
Movie Example: - 28 Days Later (2002)

Gothic Horror: - Is a genre that combines elements of both horror and romance. (Think Frankenstein, Bram Stoker's Dracula, and gothic architectures such as creepy castles).
Movie Example: - Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992) 

Home Invasion: - Are movies involving families (or couples) who are held hostage, and terrorized in the comforts of their own home. These movies help remind us to lock our doors!
Movie Example: - If I Die Before I Wake (1998)

Occult Films: - Are movies involving the occult. (i.e witchcraft, voodoo, paganism ... etc). There are some movies that combine elements of both the religious thriller and occult genre.
Psychological Thriller: - Are movies that emphasize psychological and emotion conflict rather than physical. As wikipedia puts it; "These are the movies in which (until the often violent resolution) the conflict between the main characters is metal and emotional, rather than physical." Although psychological thrillers tend to be based on reality, sort of speak (meaning, a scenario that's not too fare fetched from something that could actually occur) there are some that can make it difficult to determine whether the characters are experiencing real events, or supernatural events ... which in turn, could keep you guessing 'til the very end of the movie. (is it a person doing this, or a ghost ... is he doing this to himself or is someone/something doing this to him)
Movie Example: - Hide and Seek (2005)

Religious Thriller: - Movies involving religious, supernatural content. (The Church, Exorcisms, Angels, the Anti-Christ ... etc). Some people tend to place these types of movies in the "Supernatural Thriller" category, but here, I've chosen to keep Satan and Demons, separate from Ghost, and other creepy unexplained phenomena not centered around the church.

Serial Killer: - Drama style movies, typically involving detectives (or FBI agents), in a race against time to catch a notorious serial killer (a calculating and evasion individual who's always one step ahead), often in the gloom and rain of a major city.
Movie Example: - Se7en (1995)

Slasher: - Are films in which victims are stalked and murdered (typically in a graphically violent manner) by a deranged psychopathic killer. Slashers tend to combine elements of psychological terror with some of the physical brutality, commonly found in Splatter Horror films.
Movie Example: - Halloween (1978)

Splatter Film: - Are movies that strongly emphasize sadism, and graphic violence, such as gore, guts, physical brutality, and body mutilation. If you don't have a strong stomach, these can be hard to sit through.
Movie Example: - The Wizzard of Gore (1970)

Supernatural Thriller: - Are movies involving ghostly content, and/or unexplained paranormal phenomena. (I'm excluding religious supernatural content because I've decided to give it a category of its own). These movies tend to build tension and suspense through traditional jump scare tactics. The supernatural thriller genre may also contain some possession ... though I'm choosing to place strong demonic "religious" possession (typically accompanied by a Christian Exorcism) in the "Religious Thriller" category.
Movie Example: - The Ring (2002)

Survival: (not to be confused with Survival Horror) - Are what I consider to be the movies where the protagonist must overcome, and/or fight against the forces of nature to survive. (i.e bad weather, water, snow, and wild-animals)
Movie Example: - Frozen (2010)

Suspense/Thriller: - Are movies known to promote intense excitement, suspense, uncertainty, anxiety, and nerve-wracking tension. The suspense/thriller genre (like the Drama genre in video stores) has become my dumping grounds for movies that do not have a definitive place in any of the other genres. Most of these movies tend to combine elements from multiple genres, thus making them harder to classify.
Movie Example: - Joy Ride (2001)

Teen Terror: - Are movies, centered around a group of teens being killed off one by one. These films tend to make everyone a suspect, leaving us with the unsettling feeling that any of the characters introduced, (that hasn't already been killed off) may very well be the perp. The killers "true" identity is usually not unveiled until the end of the movie ...  and when the killer is finally revealed, there's usually (but not always) a well thought out, long drawn out explanation as to why he or she is doing the killing. Although some of these movies could be considered "Slashers", I've chosen to keep them separate. Most Teen Terrors have a "who done it" element to them (everyone's a suspect) while the typical Slasher tends to be more centered around a completely anonymous murderer, or a psychopath the audience already knows the identity of.
Movie Example: - The Scream (1996)

Torture Film (also known as Torture Porn): - Modern day horror films (influenced by the splatter genre) that contain graphic depictions of extreme violence, torture, nudity, mutilation and sadism. If you don't have a strong stomach, these can be hard to sit through.
Movie Example: - Hostel (2005)

Vampire Movies: - Movies involving Vampires.
Movie Example: - 30 Days of Night (2007)

Werewolves Movies: - Movies involving Werewolves.

There are definitely more genres of horror than those outlined above. Over the next few months or so, this list may grow (or perhaps be condense, for the sake of keeping things simply).

The Mothman