Your Ticket to a Horror Trope

Sometimes, your coworkers are so brilliant that you just have to steal their ideas. This post is a shameless ripoff of Dana’s “Your Ticket to a Love Trope” post on our Teen Blog (which, if you’re not reading, you’re missing out).

Horror and romance are very parallel genres. They both follow familiar storylines. They both have a specific feeling they are aiming to invoke. And, of course, they both have common tropes that pop up again and again. I’m going to play a little fast and loose with what counts as a “trope” and what counts as a “subgenre.” Just go with it.

Cover of A Head Full of GhostsDemon possession: All of the sudden, your friend isn’t acting like themself. They’re doing contortionist poses that would inspire envy in even the most practiced yogi. They’re hissing at crucifixes. And when did they learn Latin?

Why we love it: Having something else be in charge of our bodies, minds and actions is the closest thing to a vacation many of us have to look forward to.

Try “A Head Full of Ghosts” by Paul Tremblay


Cover of The Last Final GirlThe final girl: A violent force picks off its victims one at a time, but one scrappy young woman manages to outlast them all and escape their fate.

Why we love it: The tenacity of the main character is inspiring and implies that we can influence our destinies and save ourselves from malevolent entities.

Try “The Last Final Girl” by Stephen Graham Jones


Cover of Empire of Wild

Mythical creatures: There are plenty of real animals that could viciously kill you, but that just wasn’t enough for us humans. Whether it’s werewolves, vampires, rogarous, cryptids, or god knows what else, folklore across the world has created quite the menagerie of horrific beings.

Why we love it: It’s fun to think about what things may be out there that we still don’t know about.

Try “Empire of Wild” by Cherie Dimaline


Cover of Mexican GothicHaunted house: Some sweet, unassuming young couple moves into their dream home, but something else was there first. Little Sally is still salty about getting murdered a hundred years ago, and she is about to make it everybody’s problem.

Why we love it: They hit close to home.

Try “Mexican Gothic” by Silvia Moreno-Garcia


Cover of The Last House on Needless Street

Psychological horror: Horrors unfold and things aren’t as they seem — but what is real and what is just inside the narrator’s head?

Why we love it: You can exorcize a demon. You can pack up and move out of a haunted house. You can put a silver stake through a vampire’s heart. The one thing you can’t get away from is your mind.

Try “The Last House on Needless Street” by Catriona Ward

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