So many wonderfully delicious ways to be scared. So many ways to die. So many monsters to rip you to shreds. So many buckets of blood. So many entrails to devour. So many movies to see. So many nightmares to have. So many horror subgenres.
Everyone has their favorite horror movie, and while we can all agree on certain greats (The Silence of the Lambs, Halloween, Attack of the Killer Refrigerator), it is more fun to argue as to which subgenre of horror movie contains the best and most scares. Indeed, there are such a wide variety of monsters in the world, and so many ways to die and be eviscerated, that horror probably has more sub-categories than any other section in the video store. Action films can be split into what? Cops. Superheroes. Spies. Heist movies. Revenge flicks. Kung fu… and not much else. Horror, on the other hand, has a wide swath of inner mazes to explore. Let's take a look at a few.
Nature Gone Wrong
The Australian thriller The Long Weekend featured a young couple casually trashing the environment on a camping trip, and then feeling nature's wrath as all manner of animals tormented and vexed them. We all know Nature Gone Wrong movies, as their origins can probably be traced back to the giant killer animal craze of the 1950s, which all children somehow learn about through osmosis. The genre typically follows some feckless humans who, thanks to tinkering with nature, encounter a pack of killer animals, or perhaps just one giant killer animal. Day of the Animals. The Deadly Mantis. Grizzly. Razorback. Cujo. Bug. Slugs. Frogs. Heck, even Piranha 3-D. Every animal has had their moment to shine, and to gleefully feed on the flesh of foolish extras.
You remember the craze, right? When Japanese ghost stories were in vogue in the late 1990s and early 2000? These things were hugely popular. It was a subgenre marked by spooky mood, creepy child ghosts, and unexpected eviscerations. It was also marked by incomprehensible plotting, and ghosts who seemed to play by their own rules. There was a string of J-Horror hits, each of which was granted a remake. The craze probably began with the American remake of The Ring, and it quickly spread. The Grudge. Dark Water. Pulse. One Missed Call. These all had Japanese and American versions, and they were all about dissatisfied ghosts who were merely waiting to wreak their vengeance on the world of the living. There were a few good ones in there, but I would recommend you go straight to Takashi Miike's Audition for the cream of the crop.
Rock 'n' Roll Nightmares
Did you enjoy that video? That's Canadian would-be metal god John Mikl-Thor fighting Satan in the climax of his very own Rock 'n' Roll Nightmare, the pinnacle of a truly bizarre subgenre of horror films that usually cast heavy metal bands as supernatural tools of Satan, or occasionally as supernatural warriors against evil. Yes, there are enough of these to count as a legitimate subgenre. Heavy metal was always preoccupied with the supernatural powers of their rocking (Ted Nugent can deflect bullets with guitar riffs!), so it was only somewhat natural that such films should exist. Rocktober Blood. Black Roses. Not one, but two Rock 'n' Roll Nightmares. And the immortal TV movie, KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park. See if you can watch them all in a row. It can only make you stronger, and rock harder.
For a more detailed list of horror subgenres, check on CraveOnline on Wednesday, April 11th, when the The Cabin in the Woods people will release an infographic on the matter.