There are good horror tropes. Then there are not-so-good ones. Lastly, there are tropes that just need to stop. Preferably yesterday. Without further ado. Here are my top 5 overused horror tropes that just need to stop being a thing!
Number 5: Curiosity killed the character
Curiosity is good, encouraged even. But when you are being hunted by the demon of your uncle’s great grandma’s satanic biker boyfriend, maybe you should skip investigating the sounds coming from the old garage? I have to admit that I am rather tired of the Scooby-Doo wannabe people constantly getting themselves killed through sheer stupid curiosity. Some clear minds would be nice every once in a while!
Number 4: Dumbing down women
This trope of having women be completely braindead damsels in distress feels very off in this day and age. Even the “smart” women need to either be the nerdy hot girl or the one nobody listens to. I say, bring in the smart women with some agency. I want to see more badass women fighting women, solving horrible mysteries, and actually saving the guy for once! It’s really not that hard to switch up this trope. Just try it!
Number 3: The intentional bad movie
I love bad movies. When they didn’t intend to be bad. Like The Room was never intended to be a bad movie and that’s what made it into a “so bad it’s good” kind of movie. Now I am seeing several attempts at making b movies that try to be haha I am so bad, look at me kind of films. Unless you are making a parody film or a comedy then just don’t bother. It gets blatantly obvious rather quickly and it gets tiring even quicker!
Number 2: The skeptic
Take any supernatural movie, any at all. There will always be this one guy that refuses to believe that shit is going down. Even when the ghost is literally licking his face while drawing crosses on the guy’s forehead! Skeptic till the end is a tired trope. It gets even worse when it is a significant other essentially just calling their wife (the most common) crazy and disregarding ALL OF THE PROOF! Fewer skeptics, more actually interesting characters, please.
Number 1: The modern jumpscare
Three years ago I wrote this article about jumpscares and it still stands today. The jumpscare of today is merely a Pavlovian response (loud noise = scary). Imprint this enough time and you will indeed induce a jumpscare or two. But they add almost nothing to the feeling of fear, it rarely enhances the horror experience, and most of the time they just feel like cheap shots! I want horror to stay with me after the fact. Bring in enough jumpscares and you’ll lose my interest very quickly. Take this trope, throw it in the trash, and for the love of Cthulhu, reinvent it!