There is more to horror movies than mere blood, viscera, and severed limbs stacked like kindling. In fact, cinematic terror comes in a whole rainbow of permutations, each with its own peculiarities and delights to offer the thrill-hungry viewer. To the non-Fangoria-reading outsider, this may all seem a little baffling and disorienting. So many strange, sick, little sub-categories! Where does one even begin? But those wayward souls need worry no longer, for there is now a handy, easy-to-follow flow chart that plainly and logically arranges horror genres and sub-genres using the convenience of color coding. This particular diagram is credited to the aptly-named, no-frills Simple Film Reviews blog, which offers to-the-point movie reviews. This chart is actually an update of a previous version by the Horror On Screen website. While Horror On Screen, as its name implies, focuses exclusively on fright films, Simple Film Reviews has a somewhat broader purview, covering both horror (The Visit, Goodnight Mommy) and non-horror (Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation) offerings.
The chart divides horror into five principal categories: “Gore & Disturbing,” “Psychological,” “Killer,” “Monster,” and “Paranormal.” And of course, within those broad categories, there are myriad sub-categories. Take “Monster,” for example. Under that heading, one will find “Vampire” (30 Days Of Night), “Werewolf” (Dog Soldiers), and two flavors (“Undead” and “Virus”) of zombie flicks. Looking for a specific film, like, say, The Shining? That’s over in “Psychological” under “Phobia & Isolation.” Naturally, there is overlapping between the categories, particularly “Psychological” and “Killer,” and the chart-maker has denoted this through the color-coding process. The box for “Home Invasion” films like Funny Games, for instance, is half-brown for “Psychological” and half-yellow for “Killer.” It’s all so very simple. And just as the periodic table of the elements has those weird little boxes at the bottom for lanthanides and actinides, this chart devotes its bottom two rows to sub-genres which don’t easily fit into any of the five main categories, such as “Found Footage” (The Blair Witch Project) and “Creepy Kid” (The Omen). Think of this part of the chart as horror’s answer to the Island Of Misfit Toys.