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Horror Subgenres

There are several subgenres of horror from suspenseful to gruesome.

1. Alien Horror takes Science Fiction to a darker place. The source of the horror is either on another planet or something brought to Earth from outer space.

2. Creepy Kids Horror features children who turn out to be evil or possessed by demons or Satan.

3. Erotic Horror features explicit content: sadomasochism, torture, the dark side of sexuality and the sex trade.

4. Extreme Horror contains explicit violence and is often a “who dies first plot” with no real rhyme or reason other than to kill the victims off in horrendous fashion.

5. Holocaust Horror contains mass deaths, either in the past or future. They can be due to human slaughter, a rogue virus, monsters, zombies, etc. They are often dystopian or post-apocalyptic settings.

6. Humorous Horror combines the horror structure with the comedy structure. It is scary and/or gruesome, but also funny.

7. Mind Control Horror plays on our fear of not being in control of our own minds. The mind can be taken over via sorcery or via technology. Victims are forced to act against their will and nature and are horrifying aware of it – unlike a mindless zombie.

8. Noir Horror
 uses a gritty, urban setting with cynical protagonists who must fight the horror facing himself or everyone.

9. Paranormal Horror
 features a mortal protagonist who must fight off immortal or supernatural threats. These include exorcist tales, possession, ghosts or demons.

10. Psychological Horror keeps the verbal camera in tight focus on the protagonist. He and the audience are kept in the dark. They aren’t certain what they are fighting until the end. This subgenre can also follow the evil or insane protagonist such as a serial killer, where the protagonist actually turns out to be the antagonist.

11. Rampant Technology Horror examines our fears that man has gone too far in their technology or achievements. It can feature monster toasters or robots that kill. It can be the ghost in the machine or the machine that steals your soul.

13. Satanic Bargain Horror features a protagonist who strikes a deal with the devil, like Dorian Gray. They end up paying a horrible price for their decision.

Next week, we will take a look at the Horror story skeleton. C
heck out the newly released addition to the Story Building Blocks series: Horror Build A Plot Workbook available in print and e-book.

For more about how to craft plots using conflict check out, Story Building Blocks: The Four Layers of conflict available in print and e-book and explore the free tools and information about the series on my website.

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