This is a simple question that might be asked by the casual movie fan, but not so simple to someone who has been watching horror movies for a few decades.

Vampire movies are a good staple (Horror of Dracula), science fiction horror movies certainly have their merits (Alien). Slashers have their popular moments (Halloween). Giallo is a bit of a dark horse, at least for American viewers (The Bird with the Crystal Plumage). Of course, there is the hyper-violent torture porn which has its moments of popularity as well (Saw). These are only a few of the dozens of subgenres that horror has to offer and that is one of its beauties.

Horror, at least to its fans, is known for its versatility. Of course, for every good film, there are at least a couple of mediocre ones and several terrible ones. You can't have the original Halloween without bearing in mind that it had some inferior sequels, and fans disagree about which ones are good and which ones aren't. There is 1974's proto slasher Black Christmas, but there is also its terrible remake from 2006.

Keep two factors in mind: horror can be a broad genre that is split into dozens of subgenres and while those subgenres have their strong examples, there is inconsistent quality across the board. Is there a best subgenre for horror movies, a niche that can't fail every time one of its kind is released? No, there can't be since it depends so much on personal taste.

Douglas Winter, an editor in the horror fiction field, once wrote, "Horror isn't a genre, it's an emotion." This explains why there is so much versatility in a field that is often written off because the first thing that non-fans think of when the word 'horror' comes up is a masked killer on a rampage, followed by gore and gratuitous nudity. Granted, this is a portion of what horror has to offer, but not all. Horror does not have to have sex and violence to be horrific. It can be a tale of psychological dread, such as The Innocents. It can be a story of loss, such as what Toni Collette's character endures in Hereditary. It can also be a story of subtle terrors like Robert Wise's classic film, The Haunting (1963) based on the novel The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. A slasher can lack as much subtlety the Friday the 13th franchise, or it can take a step back and deliver something more clever and suspenseful like Psycho (1960). The psychological horror film can even take a step back and say something profound about society, such as Se7en or Lord of the Flies. Don't forget that horror, as we know it, descended from gothic fiction and from gothic fiction, we also have numerous films, either adapted from or inspired by gothic novels, as varied as Wuthering Heights, Rebecca, and Crimson Peak.

Like any other emotion, horror is also subjective. What scares one person might not scare the other. Psycho or The Haunting might be too tame for some audiences today although they were undoubtedly powerful when they were released in the 60s. Even movies like Saw or Human Centipede might not move the most hardened viewer. There can't be one genre that pleases everybody, but thankfully, horror movies come in so many different flavors that there is bound to be something for everyone who is interested enough to take a peek. They say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and the same goes for terror.

Written by Nicholas Montelongo

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