Top 10 Most Over-Used Horror Movie Clichés

There are so many horror movie clichés that this list could reach the 50’s easily. From the camcorder being placed down at angles to capture something happening behind to the heroine always falling over when being chased, without clichés were would we be.

Some though have become so recognisable it is laughable….

10 – The unreasonable parents!


“Mum…Dad, I think Jenny may be possessed by a demon”.
“Now Julie, stop being silly & go back to bed, your sister is probably fast asleep”.
“No seriously, my bed floated in the air, she started speaking Latin, spat green vomit at me & then threatened to rip my fucking head off”.
“Julie! Watch your language! I’m sure she was just playing around”.
“Jenny is 2 years old, she can’t even talk yet!”
“Don’t take that tone with us, young lady, are you on drugs?”
“Look, she’s floating down the stairs now….she has a 2nd head!”
“Help your sister dear, she mustn’t be feeling well…”

9 – This is ‘Merica, we shoot guns here!


In horror movie land everyone can not just shoot a gun but can shoot it reasonably well & seem to understand how to handle the recoil. Small girls who spent more time on the catwalk then the shooting range can instantly pick up a double barrel shotgun & start gunning down bad-guys with ease.

Even if they are initially unsure about using a gun a brief explanation from the local gunsmith (normally the surviving hero) will see them become instant marksmen.

8 – That guy/girl who has read the script.


Any horror movie that involves a local legend/incident always has an expert amongst the fodder…I mean, cast. Normally it is the nerdy character who has heard about the local legend of the drowned fisherman.

He/She then goes on to recant the entire history of the local area/local legend. This brings everyone including the viewer up to speed & this character is always killed off at some point.

7 – We don’t like your kind around here…


Picture the scene…a group of travellers gets lost & pull over at the local village pub deciding to hole up for the night. They step inside to a deathly silence & the few patrons staring intently at them. Un-nerved they ask for directions to the local hotel/place to stay & are met with stony silence or being told there is no place to stay.

The travellers push for more info & are told that “you’d best be on your way…travellers aren’t welcome here”.

Inevitably the group of travellers end up staying anyway & then get murdered in their beds.

6 – What’s that on the roof!?


How many horror movie characters have walked into a room & not noticed the body stapled to the roof until a drop of blood hits them on the head?

The lack of peripheral vision in horror movies is easily one of the most used clichés & never makes sense especially when something is waiting to drop down on a person.

5 – The damn car won’t start!

Car Wont Start

How often is this used? Almost every slasher movie has used this cliché at some point. A car just won’t start as the killer advances closer & closer. Sometimes just as he reaches the car it will fire into life resulting in it flying off & hitting the nearest tree.

Sometimes they go further which this & the person gest out to find the car has actually been messed with….how’s that for plot development!?

4 – The bathroom mirror angle.


The soon to be dead character is in the bathroom standing over their sink with one of those bathroom cabinets with a mirror on the front slightly open. They finish what they are doing pushing it closed to reveal someone or something standing behind them.

Sometimes they see it but most often it is used just for the viewer to ‘enjoy’.

3 – The ole cat scare.

Cat Scare

An oldie but a classic…the character is wandering around the basement or attic or old dusty room when they hear a rustling nearby. They go to investigate & find nothing before a cat suddenly jumps down making them & the viewer jump.

It was so over-used & predictable that film-makers started to mix it up using other animals & rodents.

2 – The killer is behind you, nope it’s just your very quiet friend.

Hand Scare

Ugh…somehow characters that spent their time clumping around like horses throughout the movie suddenly gain sneaking powers on par with Solid Snake. We normally see this from the angle of the person who is about to be made to jump.

She/He has escaped the killer & is now cowering in a room. They hear a noise & look around wildly when a hand reaches out & grabs their shoulder. We all think it is the killer but instead it turns out to be their super-quiet friend or boyfriend/girlfriend.

1 – No phone reception/phone lines have been cut


Easily the most over-used horror movie cliché even if it is often a necessary one. You can see the premise easily enough…the teens arrive at the secluded cabin in the woods & it is quickly established that there is no reception.

Any worries are normally pushed away by the declaration that here is a landline inside. Of course this will be destroyed/wire cut at some point later, this seems to always be discovered by someone trying to frantically dial out but finding the line dead!


  • Carl Fisher

    Owner/Administrator/Editor/Writer/Interviewer/YouTuber - you name it, I do it. I love gaming, horror movies, and all forms of heavy metal and rock. I'm also a Discworld super-fan and love talking all things Terry Pratchett. Do you wanna party? It's party time!

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