Horror is powered by Vocal creators. You support WatchMojo by reading, sharing and tipping stories... more

Horror is powered by Vocal.
Vocal is a platform that provides storytelling tools and engaged communities for writers, musicians, filmmakers, podcasters, and other creators to get discovered and fund their creativity.

How does Vocal work?
Creators share their stories on Vocal’s communities. In return, creators earn money when they are tipped and when their stories are read.

How do I join Vocal?
Vocal welcomes creators of all shapes and sizes. Join for free and start creating.

To learn more about Vocal, visit our resources.

Show less

Top 10 Horror Movie Clichés

Horror movie clichés were probably a good idea the first time, but now we're not even a little surprised or scared when they happen.

Oh, I know what’s coming next…I knew it…

Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’ll be counting down the top 10 horror movie clichés.

Since this is a horror list, please be advised that it contains mature content.

Subscribe to WatchMojo—Ranking Pop Culture Since 2006

#10- Nudity and Sex Equals Death

Let’s kick this list off with the cliché that’s probably the greatest reason many of us enjoy watching gore fests to begin with. Horror films always have people, specifically young adults, getting it on and baring it all. Not just eye candy, it mirrors teen fears around sexuality. As a result, most horror flicks push the parent-approved message of abstinence. Don’t believe us? Then why does the film’s always blonde quote-on quote “whore” get axed and the prudish but keen minded brunette always survive?

#9- The Black Character Always Dies

If you think promiscuous blondes have it bad, well the non-white character is even more likely to meet their bloody end before the credits roll. While there are so few non-white characters to begin with, they’re always stuck playing second fiddle as the best friend. No matter their part in the story, these characters seem to exist to fill in a stereotype until the monster or murderer affirmatively actions them out of commission.

#8- Hiding from Death

Now that’s we’ve discussed the clichés as to who will die first, let’s take a look at how they die! Namely, corning themselves by trying to hide like children, specifically under the bed, in the closet and by running upstairs. We get it, they’re scared, but a game of hide and seek is not likely to tire out undead killers or vicious space aliens is it? What they should really do is get the hell out. There’s seems to be only one way out of a hiding place, and that’s in a body bag.

#7- Two Left Feet

Sometimes the victims do decide to run, assuming they can escape their hiding place, and power to them. The problem is that this brings up another horror movie cliché. It seems that no movie character is capable of running more then a dozen feet without face planting. Equally cliché is the fact that this sprint doesn’t give them any distance over their attacker, who’s almost always walking. How does Jason ever get anywhere at that pace?

#6- Knives Only

Is there no fifth amendment in the united states of horror movie world, save for zombie films? Granted, it’s called the slasher genre for a reason. This means that it’s not likely for anyone to be taken down by lead, leaving steel as the leading cause of boo boos. Why doesn’t anyone ever own a gun? A notable exception to this cliché is the police, but that never does them any favors either…

#5- Inept Authorities

Carrying on that thought from the last entry, this cliché been established for so long that we don’t even ask ourselves why people don’t run to the police anymore. We expect that anyone with a badge mine as well have a target on their backs, as the killer likes to take them out with extreme prejudice as cannon fodder. The same thing goes for the brave member of the group who always winds up not as alive as he started.

#4- False Scares

Everyone knows that the first half hour or so of a horror film is all buildup and it’s too early for anyone to bite the dust, with the exception of the opening 10 minutes. To keep up the tension, fake scares are sprinkled in to keep us guessing, and used near the end to keep us paying attention. Just think of how many times characters bump into each other and that sharp sound kicks you in the ass...

#3- Middle of Nowhere

The only horror film to takes place in an open environment or at the mall has zombies. There’s no other way to put it. The reason for isolated and creepy locations is simple, it allows the story to cut the victims off from society and take the characters, and in turn us, out of our comfort zones. These abandoned settings are a character in of themselves and we don’t see them disappearing anytime soon.

#2- Let’s Split Up!

If there’s one thing we wouldn’t due if we were being stalked by a blade carrying psychopath, it would be to split up. Why make it easier to get offed one by one? I guess that removes a lot of the suspense and sense of vulnerability, but isn’t there a way to force members to split off, rather then have them randomly scatter like cockroaches when the lights turn on?

#1- Why Won’t He Die?

Taking the top spot on our list is the clichés that all horror villains have to be come back again after being killed for an encore. Moreover, they always survive, leaving the door open the possibility for a sequel. We get it, they want viewers to relax before cranking the terror dial to 11, and that it’s not a satisfying ending unless the bad guy goes down hard. It’s gotten so bad that we can’t even take most killers seriously anymore…

Agree with our list? What do you consider the most overdone horror movie cliché? For more entertaining top 10s, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.

Now Reading
Top 10 Horror Movie Clichés
Read Next
Reed Alexander's Horror Review of 'Creature Lake' (2015)