aliensoul77's picture
aliensoul77 from a cold distant star is reading the writing on the wall. October 6, 2011 - 10:05pm

Did anyone see this new show on FX?  It was very surreal.  Of course it has elements of all good horror stories, the creepy maid, a guy with a burned face, the repressed sexuality, the creepy baby monster in the basement, a guy in a leather suit, you know that stuff lol

It got me thinking.  What do you think are good elements of a horror story and what has become horribly cliched?

I know vampires, werewolves, etc have become overused but if a writer has any talent they can make them good.  I'm not going to let a few sparkly vamps ruin them for me.

What are the biggest horror cliches?



Nav Persona's picture
Nav Persona from Purgatory is reading The Babayaga October 6, 2011 - 10:07pm

Virginity will protect you from the psycho serial killer, but it will make you a target for the Satanists.

.'s picture
. October 6, 2011 - 10:09pm

The over-bearing psycho religious mother. The smash cut of something popping up in front of the screen that isn't the monster, killer, etc. I still need to watch American Horror Story. I hate not having cable.

Charles's picture
Charles from Portland is reading Mongrels by Stephen Graham Jones October 6, 2011 - 10:09pm

i loved it. i thought the repressed sexual dysfunction and the suicidal teenager were there purposely to make it the american horror story as much as they were for conventional reasons


aliensoul77's picture
aliensoul77 from a cold distant star is reading the writing on the wall. October 6, 2011 - 10:33pm

@jack.  You don't need cable when there are torrents ;p   I download my TV shows.  I actually prefer watching TV on the computer, I'm weird. 

@Charles:  I agree. I think Ryan Murphy understands that true horror involves not vacant hollow shells of characters but people who are screwed up put in even more screwed up situations and seeing how they will react.  Horror can be seen as a manisfestation of desire and madness. 

@Sapple:  I agree.  I am so sick of virginity being touted as this magic shield, even on teen shows they act like kissing is practically doing it.  Do these people not live in the real world?  Do they not know that their kids are having oral sex?  I think the most horrifying show ever made was 7th Heaven because it was so effing delusional and judgmental.  Smoking a joint was cause for an intervention on that show. 

.'s picture
. October 7, 2011 - 12:44am

Ahh thank you uTorrent. This show is amazing.

Achillez's picture
Achillez from Long Island, New York is reading The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway October 7, 2011 - 12:09pm

I liked it, but it felt kind of messy. I'll keep watching though.

Tina Marie Morlock's picture
Tina Marie Morlock from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma is reading Letters from the Earth October 7, 2011 - 12:19pm

I thought there was a little cliche to it, but I still think it's going to be a great show. While I was watching it, I kept wondering where they could take it from there. I can't wait to see how it all plays out. As far as horror goes, I think as long as you're raping somebody through their deepest and darkest fears, you can't go long as the story is written well.

Bob Pastorella's picture
Bob Pastorella from Groves, Texas is reading murder books trying to stay hip, I'm thinking of you, and you're out there so Say your prayers, Say your prayers, Say your prayers October 7, 2011 - 4:01pm

I think that sometimes, instead of avoiding the cliches, you need to embrace them, amplify them, twist them out of proportion. My Vampire project deals with a junkie that has longed to become a vampire. He has been  flooded with Vampire media overkill his entire life and is convinced they are real. When he finds out how to become one, he finds his expectations false, and he's truly screwed himself.

Most Horror novels try to exist in some kind of weird vacuum where strange and fantastic creatures are the subject of  legends and folklore, completely ignoring the mainstream media vomit that exists in the real world: In other words, in a Vampire story for instance, the fictional world the story is set in NEVER mentions the nearly 200 years of vampire literature or other media.

It's like Dracula never happened.

I find this annoying, assuming I've never heard of vampires, trying to make me believe they're this hidden thing when you can't look up without seeing some emo girl gushing about the new Twilight movie coming out. Might as well embrace the culture. I think in the future, we're going to see more hybrids out there as far as the written word is concerned. More crime/noir horror, more dark speculative. It's not like this is a new thing. Noir/Horror been around for a long time, but it's just now getting noticed by the mainstream, who is probably just as sick and tired of Mr. Goody-Two-Shoes Hero saving the day as I am.



capelesswondergirl's picture
capelesswondergirl from Kansas is reading The Morganville Vampires series October 7, 2011 - 6:21pm

I think vampires aren't over-used but they are incorrectly used and it annoys me to no end.  Twilight gives me all kinds of rage.


I am interested to see where they go with American Horror Story.  It has some potential (and it has certainly got me thinking on some of my less brightly lit ideas.)

jay wolf's picture
jay wolf from nyc metro is reading Transmetropolitan October 7, 2011 - 11:18pm

I thought the American Horror Story show was interesting, and I felt like a lot of the cliches were quite tolerable, and they tended to be of the familiar-but-creepy sort, and possibly even necessary setup in the hopes of really breaking our expectations later on in the series.  I will definitely keep watching for now-- I think there's a lot of potential.  I liked that the sexual overtones in the show are not romanticized.  

As for cliches in horror?  Hmm, I think the ones I'm most tired of are the motivationless serial killers.  Yawn.  



Bradley Sands's picture
Bradley Sands from Boston is reading Greil Marcus's The History of Rock 'N' Roll in Ten Songs October 10, 2011 - 10:09pm

I've never seen a narrative-based TV show that made me as feel as disoriented as this one. I guess it was due to the style of editing. Chris Morris's Jam might have had a similar effect on me, but it was a sketch comedy show (well, sort of).

bryanhowie's picture
bryanhowie from FW, ID is reading East of Eden. Steinbeck is FUCKING AMAZING. October 10, 2011 - 10:30pm

I thought the show was visually appealing, but the whole cheating lover angle and the teenage psycho romance thing are going to be WAY to soap opera-y for me.  I'll watch at least a few episodes, though.  I hope it doesn't get dramatic and focuses on horror.