10 Horror Movie Stereotype Characters People Are Tired of Seeing
Please, someone, give old people their clothes.
Along with the unnecessary jump scares and screams, there are certain recurring character stereotypes that have become so familiar to the horror genre that we wish they hadn't stuck around for so long. While some of these archetypes can add depth and suspense to a movie, others have worn out their welcome.
Here are 10 horror movie clichés that need to be replaced with something new.
10. The Creepy Old Person
While their enigmatic presence can add an intriguing element to a horror plot, the predictability and overuse of creepy old people have made them more of a cliché than a source of genuine intrigue.
Whether portrayed as ghostly entities, as in The Shining, or as mentally disturbed individuals, as in Ti West's slasher film X, horror films often depict elderly men and women not only at their worst but usually undressed, in order to portray their aging bodies as sources of fear and disgust.
9. The Geek
While not typically portrayed as physically powerful or charismatic, geeks play a crucial role within the narrative as they are essential to solving mysteries, providing valuable information, or offering a unique perspective.
The nerd is often the glue that holds the group together, contributing not through physical prowess but through intelligence, resourcefulness, and often a deep knowledge of the horror genre itself. However, since Randy Meeks set the tone in Scream, this trope has been pulling itself up by trying to outdo him for too long.
8. The Stoner
The stoner character is a staple of many horror films, known for indulging in marijuana and providing comic relief to the intense plot. These characters often reinforce outdated anti-drug messages while at the same time getting themselves so high that they can't even throw a fist when the killer comes for them.
Mixing comedy with gore is a beloved staple of horror movie plot development, but what's good about useless stoners who can’t even stand up for themselves?
7. The Harbinger
In horror movies, there's often that one odd character who seems unhinged and gives the protagonists dire warnings, foretelling impending doom if they don't change their ways.
While their ominous warnings and local legends set the stage for the horror that follows, and this character serves a purpose, their repetitive presence can be seen as a tired storytelling device that deprives viewers of the taste of the unknown.
6. The Outsider Kid
What was once taboo — the idea of an evil child — has become commonplace, and it's often harder to find normal children in horror movies than their disturbing peers Whether it's creepy little ghost girls in old-fashioned dresses or grown-up sociopaths, the creepy kid trope has been a mainstay of the genre for many years.
Once the child appears on the screen, there can be no conversation about innocence. The more reserved, the worse — the golden rule of horror.
5. The Skeptic
The Skeptic is a character who questions the supernatural and refuses to accept the existence of paranormal phenomena, monsters, or supernatural occurrences within the horror film. Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, they refuse to accept the existence of supernatural phenomena until they meet a grisly fate at the hands of the very forces they doubted.
While staying grounded is a good trait, considering the supernatural from multiple angles can be quite annoying to viewers and people around you who are too busy trying to save their lives to make sure you believe them.
4. The Promiscuous Girl
According to the laws of the horror genre, if you want to remain a final girl or boy, never have sex before the killer is caught. However, unlike the "good" final girl, bad girls usually embrace sexual encounters and typically care less about the group, which leads to them often being cast as early victims.
Characters like Jules in The Cabin in the Woods or Bree in the Friday the 13th remake exemplify this trope, highlighting the need for more diverse and profound female character portrayals in the genre.
3. The Jock
In horror movies aimed at younger audiences, the jock is a well-worn stereotype: big, strong, often rude, and typically a misogynistic bully. They are the antagonists to the often nerdy heroes, and what makes this trope tiresome is its predictability and overuse, to the point where it’s been even mocked in popular culture as a simplistic and unrealistic division between jocks and nerds.
2. Idiot Cops
An enduring and often criticized stereotype in horror films is the portrayal of law enforcement and authority figures as astonishingly dumb or malevolent. This stereotype takes several forms, including the absence of any meaningful law enforcement presence, officials who come perilously close to meeting their doom, or those who are revealed to be complicit in sinister plots.
But more often than not, it just shows how a single character trope can contain dozens of stereotypes, from skeptics to jocks, that never fail to piss you off.
1. The Hysterical Girl
Traditionally portrayed as a young woman, the prevalence of this stereotype has been widely criticized for reinforcing gender bias. The hysterical girl exhibits an excessive, irrational, and near-constant state of fear or anxiety in response to even minor and seemingly innocuous stimuli.
This character is typically portrayed as outspoken, dismissive, and annoying, and often serves as a catalyst for tension and conflict within the narrative. While this trope has thankfully become less common in recent years, it remains a memorable and occasionally subverted element of the horror genre that has managed to traumatize many viewers.