Artist Illustrates Horror Movie Cliches

horror movie cliches

Mark H. Harris is something of a horror expert. The owner of Black Horror Movies since 2005, Mark has been a passionate horror fanatic for over twenty years. He has worked as a freelance entertainment writer since 2003, having written for publications such as PopMatters.com, Napster, THEiNDI Magazine, Pretty-Scary.com and Ugly Planet, as well as working as the head writer on the Chicago-based horror television show Midnite Screams.

Who better then to guide us through the world of horror movie cliches? Mark created this series of stick figure illustrations to highlight some of the techniques and motifs that have become overused in the horror industry. Horror movie cliches including shakey-cam and ethnic stereotypes are tackled in this fun little series which Mark has also hilariously annotated. Check out some of our favourite below.

horror movie cliches

Someone approaches a slumped-over body across the room with its back to the camera

“The prototypical “boo” moment, this scenario involves the person gingerly saying things like “Are you OK?” and “Stop kidding around” as he nears the unresponsive body, which turns out to be either a corpse or a creature who wants to eat him. In either case, you should carry a long “poking stick” with you before even thinking about approaching such a figure.”

horror movie cliches

The killer stalks lovers in a parked car

“What better way to tell her you love her than to drive her into the middle of a field and dismiss any strange sounds she hears coming from outside the car?”

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Someone goes into a spooky environment to check out a sound or movement

“If you hear something that sounds like an undead corpse dragging an axe across the floor, common sense dictates that you head in the opposite direction.”

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Any fast-moving head special effect

“Originally a neat effect to give an indication of supernatural goings-on (see Jacob’s Ladder or House on Haunted Hill), this has become the horror equivalent of The Matrix‘s “bullet time.”

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Someone is hesitant to kill a loved one who’s turned into a zombie/vampire/werewolf, etc

This is almost always accompanied by the rational persuasion of another person saying, “That isn’t your [mother/father/brother/sister/Brazilian bikini waxer] anymore!”

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The child’s “imaginary friend” turns out to be real

“If your kid says that his imaginary friend is an 18th century tobacco farmer named Jedediah, it’s time to move”

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The fleeing victim — usually a woman — falls as she tries to run from the killer

“This is why killers don’t wear shoelaces. Ever heard of Velcro?”

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The black guy — or any minority — dies

“This has become a standard since the advent of the slasher in the late ’70s and is epitomized by the Orlando Jones line in Evolution: “I’ve seen this movie. The black dude dies first.”

 See more from ’20 Horror Movie Clichés I Can Do Without’

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