Follow TV Tropes


Horror Tropes

Go To

"Stephen King once wrote that 'Nightmares exist outside of logic, and there's little fun to be had in explanations; they're antithetical to the poetry of fear.' In a horror story, the victim keeps asking 'Why?' But there can be no explanation, and there shouldn't be one. The unanswered mystery is what stays with us the longest, and it's what we'll remember in the end."

Tropes that are associated with Horror stories, from any medium.

A subgenre of Speculative Fiction as many contain supernatural elements.

Subcategories and Trope Indexes


Stock characters

Other categories

  • Abandoned Area: Buildings and places which are (mostly) empty of people will make good stock settings for scary stories.
  • Adult Fear: Tropes tied to realistic fears an adult could have.
  • Apocalyptic Index: The End of the World as We Know It will always involve mass death and destruction on a grand scale, and thus is never a pleasant event to experience (if you can even survive it, that is).
  • Bloody Tropes: Whenever you see this precious body fluid getting spilled, it means bad things have or will happen.
  • Darkness and Shadows Tropes: The absence of light is often feared to be where danger is lurking.
  • Dead Body Index
  • Death Tropes: Obviously enough, the end of anyone's life is not something you really wish to witness (or experience directly).
  • Evil Is Visceral
  • Evil Music Index: The typical soundtrack associated with any horror movie/show/game.
  • Evil Tropes: All competent villains can invoke great terror from their sinister behavior and cruel actions.
  • Fear Tropes: The emotions of horror and terror itself.
  • Halloween Tropes: Tropes related to the holiday of All Hallows' Eve, or Halloween, which in modern times has basically become a secular pop-cultural celebration of the horror fiction genre, along with all of its associated tropes and cliches.
  • Index of Gothic Horror Tropes
  • Lovecraftian Tropes
  • Madness Tropes: Tropes about extreme mental illnesses and insanity in general.
  • Paranormal Tropes: Tropes about the paranormal and supernatural, or unexplainable phenomena beyond our (safe) understanding of reality. Often invokes our fears of unknown and unusual things.
  • Scary Animals Index
  • Screaming Tropes: Yelling out a loud shriek is an appropriate response to feeling truly terrified.
  • Skeletal Tropes: Since it takes a long time for bones to decompose, skeletons are often associated with long-decomposed corpses and by extension death.
  • Subverted Innocence: When horror is derived from something that's (seemingly) nice, sweet, and wholesome getting twisted into a malicious mockery of itself.
  • Violence Tropes: Direct physical conflict between two or more characters can result in very disturbing injuries and consequences.
  • You Would Not Want to Live in Dex: Locations and settings that are inherently bad places to ever visit.

Individual Tropes

    open/close all folders 
















  • Quarantine with Extreme Prejudice: There's a serious outbreak of a horrible illness going around, and anyone suspected of being infected is forcibly locked up and isolated from the public (or even killed outright) to prevent the disease spreading.