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Six Of Our Favorite Horror Movie Tropes That Seem to Never Get Old

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Ah, Horror Movie Tropes. If you're a fan of horror flicks, then you probably agree - no matter how overdone, how ridiculous, and how silly, some horror tropes just never get old. The Horror Genre is basically built on tropes, to the point where many of the most iconic tropes are so celebrated that they've even been fodder for countless parodies and fan send ups.

What's really great about many of these tropes is that different movies take them in different directions, revitalizing the tropes, and making them entertaining again. It's even better when movies break the Forth Wall, and acknowledge the tropes that they're totally playing into - something you'll really only see in horror flicks.

Since we love Horror Tropes so much, we've put together some of our favorites for you:

  1. If The Kids Figure Out Something Insane is Going On, The Adults Will Be Absolutely Useless - Oh my god, this trope is ridiculous, and that's why it is one of our favorites - it adds such a level of silliness to horror flicks that frankly, the whole thing becomes campy (in a good way). No matter what is going on in a horror movie, if the child protagonist turns to an adult for help, they're going to be dismissed.

    This role is usually filled by fathers and police officers, or other "fatherly figures". Take Troll 2 for example (which happens to be the best-worst movie of all time, thank you very much). The child protagonist, Joshua, realizes that the town they're vacationing in, "Nilbog" is actually Goblin spelt backward, and that all of the weird people there are trying to eat them. Despite a TON of evidence, including you know, the name of the town, the father ignores his son's warnings throughout the movie, until people are getting eaten, basically.

    Sorry, horror movie kids, adults just aren't going to believe your silly, made-up fantasies about demons, vampires, apparitions, witches, or other evil beings. You're going to have to figure out how to save everyone yourself despite being like 8 years old, buddy.

  2. Even When There Are Plenty of Guns Available, They're Not Gonna Work - Why does no one ever just shoot the bad guy? Well, because then the movie would be over in like 5 minutes. So to solve that conundrum in-universe, a few things tend to happen when it comes to guns in horror movies:

    • The protagonist has a gun, but it is jammed somehow, despite the fact that modern weapons rarely jam. This isn't the civil war, for crying out loud.

    • The protagonist has a gun, but they (a) drop it off a cliff, (b) drop it so that the bad guy can grab it, or (c) give it to someone else who manages to accomplish either (a) or (b). 

    • The protagonist has a gun, but they are a worse shot than the Storm Troopers in Star Wars, and despite having seemingly unlimited ammo, are unable to shoot the bad guy at point blank range.

    • The protagonist has a gun, but the bad guy is immune to bullets, somehow. In this scenario, the villain is usually supernatural, already dead/undead, under some sort of magical spell, or an otherworldly being. Regardless, it's safe to say that if the protagonist manages to (a) get a gun, (b) not drop and/or break it, and (c) fire off a decent shot, then the villain will somehow be impervious to bullets.

  3. Ladies Can't Run Without Falling (Even If They're Not Wearing Heels) - Ok, so this one is a little unfair, I think, but it's still totally a Horror Movie Trope. As fate would have it, if you're a woman, and you're running away in a horror movie, you are going to fall over. It doesn't matter if you're running in the woods, in a sewer, through a house, or even down a street with zero potential trip hazards in your way - girl, you're going down.

    Now, that doesn't mean you're going to die, necessarily - there's lots of ladies who make it through horror flicks despite face planting during their running away montages. What I'd like to see though is a little more equality here - maybe some guys could fall over while running away from villains more often.

    If they're wearing adequate footwear, frankly, there's no reason that women should be falling over all the time. I mean how often do you see ladies just falling over in the grocery store for no reason? That's what I thought.

  4. The Jerk Always Gets What's Coming to Him (Unless He Has an Epiphany Mid-Movie) - So if there's one thing that Horror Movies love, it's schadenfreude, and that's exactly what makes this trope so popular. In many horror movies, there's some sort of jerk - an abuser, a racist/bigot, a bully, or just an all around jerk that has been a thorn in the side of the protagonist for the duration of the movie.

    Well, unless this jerk has an epiphany and decides to "change his ways" (and even then, his odds ain't great), then he's going to die. Not only is The Jerk going to die, but audiences are going to cheer, because who doesn't love seeing a bully get what's coming to them?

  5. The Villain NEVER Really Dies - It doesn't matter how the movie ends, or how "final" things look - the villain never really dies. Whether s/he's shot, drowned, blown up, buried alive, electrocuted, melted, sent to outer space, or even has had their head cut off - there's always a way for them to come back.

    Now, this trope can play out in a few ways, depending on the movie, but the two most common "villain comeback" plot-hole-fillers are:

    The villain didn't actually die when you saw him  or her"die" - s/he washed ashore if s/he was drowning, s/he escaped the fire/explosion/whatever at just the last minute, but was gravely wounded, which is why s/he's been dormant for "so long" (i.e. in between movies) - basically, you thought the villain was dead, but they never actually died, and now they're even more mad because you tried to kill them.


    The villain did in fact die when you thought he did, but he's been reanimated/brought back to life somehow. This can happen in a variety of different ways - some dummy lifts the curse containing the villain on accident, some dummy lifts the curse containing the villain on purpose "to prove it's just an urban legend (this person is generally killed off immediately after this happens), the villain is reanimated, or there are some full moon/witchcraft shenanigans at play that allow the villain to return to the mortal world (typically for a very limited period of time), to exact his or her revenge.

    Regardless of the how, villains are able to make their return and reign terror down on a new batch of unsuspecting victims, because hey - if they couldn't return, how could we have a sequel, right?

What's Your Favorite Horror Movie Trope? Let Us Know in the Comments Below!



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Tags: Horror Movie Tropes, Horror Movies, Horror Flicks, Horror Movie News, Horror