We are halfway to Halloween with our #31DaysofHorror! There are so many dedicated horror fans out there (who have made this month amazing) because the genre itself can have so many sub-genres. You can be a die hard horror fan, but actively avoid any movie involving a clown, doll or puppet. That’s the beauty of horror, you’re not pigeon-holed into one category. With that said, the good people of the internet have opinions on which sub-genre is the best. Here are the top five reasons why thrillers are better than slashers. All opinions are my own, and are based off a childhood of having a sister who loved horror movies and always controlled the remote.
1. More Realistic
The saying “truth is stranger than fiction” can easily be applied to horror, except it should be reworded as “truth is scarier than fiction”. The inspiration behind horror classics, such as “The Exorcism of Emily Rose“, and “The Amityville Horror“, wasn’t thought up on some Hollywood film lot. They were based on true events that actually happened to real people. One way that non-horror fans can rationalize seeing a scary movie is by convincing themselves that this would never happen in real life. If you take away that security blanket of a lie by proving that demonic possession, ghost hauntings, and deadly viruses are all things out there in the world, what are they left with? It’s that terrifying aspect of reality that brings us to our next point.
2. Psychological is Scarier than Gore
Along with being based on true events, thrillers are are also scarier because they’re psychological. The master of suspense, Alfred Hitchcock, explains the difference between thrillers and slasher perfectly by telling the anecdote of the bomb under the table. In so many words, Hitchcock explains that the quick surprise of the bomb exploding is not as effective as the suspense that would occur if the audience was aware that there was a bomb under the table. The audience would be afraid of what was going to happen, making their uneasy fear sustained over a longer amount of time. In this case, slashers are the initial bomb explosion. The audience is traumatized for the amount of time that the victim is on the screen, but after that? The feeling is forgotten. Thrillers bring the suspense element that those who like to be terrified thrive off of. Thrillers brand their fear on you, making you remember the anxiety far after you leave the theater.
3. Better Story Lines
Let’s be honest, if you’ve seen one depraved madman terrorizing sleep away camp kids, you’ve seen them all. The narrative creativity is no longer there, so the shock value has to come from the horrifically inventive techniques that each killer imposes upon their victims. Slasher movies begin to rely on lazy, theatrical scares to illicit a response from the audience. If you go back and watch the most popular (almost comical now) slashers from the 80s, you are only being shocked by the gruesomeness of it all, not by the actual plot. Add on how desensitized to gore and violence everyone has become, and you need to create a thrilling story line to make a memorable movie.
4. Easily Combined with Other Sub-genres
Thrillers are the Renaissance Men of the horror genre, especially psychological thrillers. They can seamlessly combine with monster movies or paranormal shockers, and even the rare Hillbilly Horror Show. It’s the suspense, shock, and overall sense of uneasiness created in thrillers that make them so entertaining to watch. The fear of the unknown is arguably the biggest fear of all. So, mix that in with the well-established tropes of other horror sub-genres, and you have a recipe for a film that will not only make people’s stomaches turn, but also keep them scared to close their eyes at night.
5. I rest my case…
Disagree with this list? Good! Feel free to voice your own opinion in the comments. After all, arguing in comment sections is what the internet was made for.